"Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."
That's an old saying, one that everyone knows. However, based on Andre Dawson's election to the Baseball Hall of Fame, you'd think that Hall voters were blissfully unaware of this well-worn phrase.
You see, there's an internal contradiction that permeates voting for the Hall of Fame. Players need MVP and Cy Young awards to build their Hall of Fame cases, and writers look to the winners of these awards as a guideline when voting for the Hall. The flaw is that the members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America vote for both the end-of-season awards and the Hall of Fame, and occasionally they elect players into Cooperstown based on awards they never deserved to win, compounding their original error. Case in point: Andre Dawson, the National League MVP in 1987. It's probably the least deserved MVP award of the past 30 years -- I'll explain -- yet it often is cited as the main point for those making the Hawk-for-the-Hall case. But without that MVP, it's unlikely that Dawson would be giving a speech on Sunday.