HOUSTON -- Andre Dawson didn't think twice when asked if former Astros first baseman Jeff Bagwell deserved to be in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Bagwell is on the ballot for the fourth time. Dawson had some career numbers that were pretty similar to Bagwell, and "The Hawk" had to wait until his ninth time on the ballot to get inducted in 2010.
Dawson -- who finished his career with 438 homers, 1,591 RBIs, 1,373 runs and 2,774 hits in 20 seasons -- got 45.3 percent of the vote on his first time on the ballot in 2002 and 50 percent the next two years. His total rose slightly each year, getting 65.9 percent in '08 and 67 percent in '09 before finally getting 77.9 percent in '10.
Bagwell garnered 41.7 percent his first time on the ballot in '11, 56.0 in '12 and 59.6 in the vote before last season. He played five fewer seasons than Dawson, but had 449 homers, 1,529 RBIs, 1,517 runs and 2,314 hits. Both players won Most Valuable Player Awards.
"The thing about the Hall is, it's a process," Dawson said. "There's no protocol unless you have the automatic numbers they like to throw out. If you're a Hall of Famer, you're a Hall of Famer and should be elected when it comes time for you to seek election. Jeff Bagwell was a great ballplayer, a first baseman in the era I played, and undoubtedly put up Hall of Fame numbers."
Former Astros second baseman Craig Biggio, who amassed 3,060 hits in 20 seasons in Houston, will be on the ballot for the second time after getting 68.2 percent vote in his first shot. Players need 75 percent of the vote to get inducted.
"He had 3,000 hits, and that is what they call one of the automatic numbers," Dawson said of Biggio. "There was a time where [if] you had 3,000 hits, you were a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame. I had to wait nine years before I was put in the Hall of Fame. He has the 3,000 hits, so why does he have to wait?"
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.