The "Hawk" Andre Dawson finally lands in Hall of Fame

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Outfielder Andre Dawson had the stage to himself when he was the only player inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, on Sunday.

Dawson became just the second player to be enshrined wearing a Montreal Expos hat and perhaps the last for a team that no longer exists. The Expos moved to Washington D.C. after the 2004 season and were renamed the Nationals. Former team mate catcher Gary Carter was inducted in 2003.

The fleet-footed Dawson, known to baseball fans as "The Hawk," played 21 major league seasons, the first 11 in Montreal followed by stints with the Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox and Florida Marlins.

Dawson had waited a nearly a decade for the Hall to call, finally voted in by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America on his ninth attempt.

Former manager Whitey Herzog and umpire Doug Harvey also took their place in Cooperstown during ceremonies conducted under threatening skies.

"Thank you for welcoming this rookie to your team," Dawson told a crowd that included many Montrealers who made the trip. "It's an honor beyond words.

"I didn't play this game with this in mind but I'm living proof that if you love this game, the game will love you back.

"I am proof to any young person who can hear my voice right now, you can be standing here as I am."

Dawson entered the majors in 1976 with the Expos earning National League rookie of the year honors in 1977 and a decade later was named the NL's Most Valuable Player in his first season with the Chicago Cubs when he led the senior circuit with 49 homers and 137 RBIs.

An eight-time All-Star, Dawson had 438 homers, 1,591 RBIs, 2,774 hits and 314 stolen bases but never played in a World Series.

(Writing by Steve Keating in Toronto, editing by Ian Ransom)