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Dawson, Blyleven to visit Hall of Fame Tour

Recent inductees in Minnesota for MLB's traveling Cooperstown experience
MLB.com

MLB's Hall of Fame Tour opened on Friday at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., located just 20 minutes south of Target Field in Minneapolis, home of the Minnesota Twins.

And on Sunday, MLB's traveling Cooperstown experience welcomes legendary slugger Andre "The Hawk" Dawson, himself a Hall of Famer. Dawson, who spent the majority of his 21-year career with the Montreal Expos and the Chicago Cubs, this year's NL Central champions, won both the NL Rookie of the Year and MVP Awards during his Major League tenure. Dawson will explore the Tour beginning at 11 a.m.

MLB's Hall of Fame Tour opened on Friday at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., located just 20 minutes south of Target Field in Minneapolis, home of the Minnesota Twins.

And on Sunday, MLB's traveling Cooperstown experience welcomes legendary slugger Andre "The Hawk" Dawson, himself a Hall of Famer. Dawson, who spent the majority of his 21-year career with the Montreal Expos and the Chicago Cubs, this year's NL Central champions, won both the NL Rookie of the Year and MVP Awards during his Major League tenure. Dawson will explore the Tour beginning at 11 a.m.

Following Dawson, longtime Twins pitcher and current bullpen coach Eddie Guardado will visit the Tour on Monday, Sept. 19, at 4 p.m.; Twins Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven returns to the Tour for a second time on Tuesday, Sept. 20, at 11 a.m.; and former pitcher Juan Berenguer, who spent four seasons in Minnesota, will check out the artifacts on Monday, Sept. 26, at 4 p.m.

Video: Twins Hall of Fame VR

While the Tour was in Kansas City, Blyleven, who was inducted into the Hall in 2011, stopped by to take in the sights and sounds, along with Twins players Michael Tonkin, Kennys Vargas and Ryan O'Rourke. They were all impressed by how deeply they could immerse themselves in the game.

"How can you not want to come see this?" asked Blyleven. "From the virtual reality to watching the IMAX to going back in time to see how the game evolved … it's beautiful."

The virtual reality component was a highlight for fans and players alike.

"As a fan, it's like you're in Spring Training [with the players]," Blyleven continued after testing out the VR headgear. "You're standing on the sidelines with them. You're almost wanting to play catch with them and communicate with them … it's pretty cool."

Prior to arriving in Minnesota, where it will remain through Sept. 29, the Tour visited Modern Woodmen Park in Davenport, Iowa; Miller Park in Milwaukee; Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City; and, most recently, Ballpark Village in St. Louis. The traveling exhibition is home to 45 artifacts from the Hall of Fame, plus interactive games and displays, an in-game virtual reality experience, and the first and only mobile IMAX movie. It has drummed up plenty of excitement, and an abundance of familiar faces have come by to check it out, including George Brett, Rollie Fingers, Commissioner Emeritus Bud Selig and, most recently, Ozzie Smith and Jim Edmonds.

Video: Ozzie Smith, Edmonds visit the HOF Tour in St. Louis

Minnesota boasts some historic baseball roots, as three natives of the state have their busts in Cooperstown: Chief Bender, Dave Winfield and the team's current manager, Paul Molitor. Other famous Twins players to make it to the Hall of Fame include Kirby Puckett, Harmon Killebrew and Rod Carew, who each played more games with Minnesota than any other Major League team. Even Steve Carlton spent a season with the club in 1987.

The Twins return home for a six-game homestand from Sept. 20-25, with series against the Tigers and Mariners on the docket. Be sure to stop by end enjoy the traveling showcase and a ballgame. You can visit halloffametour.com for more information, including how to get tickets.

Joe Sparacio is a contributor to MLB.com.