By Sylvia Gurinsky
With apologies to the memory of Charles Dickens, it was the best of times, it was a remembrance of the worst of times......
South Floridians rejoiced last week at the news that Andre Dawson, Miami-born and raised, was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
A terrific fielder and hitter, Dawson, nicknamed "Hawk," played the second half of his career for the Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox and Florida Marlins on badly damaged knees from the first half of his career with the Montreal Expos and the artificial turf in Olympic Stadium. That makes his achievement all the more extraordinary.
Speaking of artificial, the issue of steroids was raised yet again by the confessions of Mark McGwire Monday that he had, indeed, used them. It wasn't a perfect confession by any means, but it's further than previous confessed steroid users have gone.
Evidently, too, judging by the comments of former U.S. Rep. Tom Davis Monday, McGwire would have gone that far in the 2005 Congressional hearings that Davis chaired, except that then-U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales would not agree to immunity for McGwire. One has to wonder if anything would have changed in baseball if Gonzales, who showed a tendency to make the wrong decision on most issues, had agreed to immunity for Big Mac.
McGwire likely won't be prosecuted. But he likely will never go into the Hall of Fame, either.
McGwire's comments illustrate the problems Major League Baseball still faces in handling the complete truth about steroids, human growth hormone and whatever else has been used by players.
The only good thing about the so-called Steroid Era is that it has definitely put more focus on players like Dawson, who played before baseball's ugliest chapter since the Black Sox Scandal began. Thanks to that focus, Dawson is where he belongs - in Cooperstown. The Hawk soars anew.