Shawon Dunston and his family waited eagerly around their telephone Tuesday in their Phoenix-area homeĀ hoping to getĀ a call from the Baseball Hall of Fame. That call never came. A Jan. 1 column by reporter Carrie Muskat touting Dunston as a legitimate Hall Fame candidate built up false hope for the former Cubs All-Star.

“I started to dream it after reading her column,” said Dunston. “And then it all came crashing down on me and my family.”

In fact, when the Hall tally was released Tuesday, Dunston’s name had appeared on only one ballot–a sort of sympathy vote placed by Muskat herself.

“The guy had a rocket arm,” said Muskat when reached for comment. “I really thought that alone would get him in to the Hall. Maybe next year.”

Turns out there will be no next year for Dunston’s Hall chances. Candidates need to be named on at least five percent of the ballots to remain eligible for election the following year, hence Dunston’s name will be removed from the ballot, forever quashing his hopes for enshrinement.

By Jeremy Barewin