An Ode to "The Hawk" Andre Dawson
Andre Nolan Dawson was the only player on the 2010 Hall of Fame Ballot that was announced to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, which was announced yesterday. Dawson has been waiting over a decade to receive the prestigious call to the hall and for over 20 years Dawson had done nothing but earn what he’s become, a legend.
Dawson was selected in the 11th round of the MLB First Year Player Draft by the Montreal Expos. He played 24 games in 1976 but rose to stardom the following year. In 1977, Dawson beat out New York Mets outfielder Steve Henderson to claim the National League Rookie of the Year. He batted .282 with 19 homers and 65 RBI while stealing 21 bases as an everyday outfielder.
Most of Dawson’s glory years as a player was in an Expo uniform. In 1981 he was runner-up to Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Mike Schmidt in MVP voting. Two years later, he would finish second again to Dale Murphy of the Atlanta Braves.
In seven of eleven seasons with the Expos, Dawson would hit at least 20 homers and steal 20 bases. However, with nagging injuries, Dawson would have to move from the artificial turf of Olympic Stadium. In 1986, Dawson became a free agent and found a home with the Chicago Cubs.
In his first year with the Cubs, Dawson hit 49 homers and had 137 RBI after manager Dallas Green refused to make Dawson the starter automatically. Dawson would go on to win MVP of the National League that year and became the first player to win an MVP award on a last place team.
Dawson would eventually help turn the Cubs hopes around by leading them to the National League Championship after winning the NL East in 1989, but Dawson’s .105 batting average against the San Francisco did not help them defeat the Giants.
Dawson would continue his career but his spotlight was dwindling. In 1992, he opted for free agency and signed with the Boston Red Sox where he was used as a designated hitter. Dawson would finish his career as a Florida Marlin and missed out on a 1997 World Series ring, however he got redemption.
Dawson would get his first and only World Series ring in 2003 with the Florida Marlins where he held a front office management position. His career became full circle.
The Hawk finished his career with 2,774 hits, 438 home runs, 314 stolen bases, and 1,591 RBI. He is one of only six players in major league history to hit over 300 home runs and steal 300 bases in his career. The other players to accomplish this feat are Barry Bonds, Willie Mays, Bobby Bonds, Reggie Sanders, and Steve Finley. Dawson is also one of only three members of the 400 HR-300 SB club, along with Barry Bonds and Willie Mays.
His safe to say that Dawson had a satisfying career. Not only is he one of the greats to ever play the game, he now can live in infamy along with the other greats that ever played the game. Dawson earned his right to be on the playing field. He tore up his knees playing and proved to be a great defensive outfielder. He will go down as one of the best defensive players in the history of the game
Now the question is, which hat will he wear to the Hall of Fame? Expo, Cub, or throw us a curve ball and go with Marlin, or Red Sock? Hopefully, we’ll know soon.
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