They call him ‘The Hawk”; a name fitting for one of the most tenacious, ball hunting outfielders in MLB history.
He was better known as Andre Dawson.
For nine years—what has probably been an eternity for Dawson—the eight time Gold Glove Award winner has patiently waited for that one phone call that ever HOF nominee yearns to hear, and for nine long years, that call has perpetually remained silent.
Now, Dawson finds himself on the merry go round once again; hoping there are enough votes to finally put him where he belongs: inside the Hall of Fame.
Dawson began his career in Montreal (1976) where he rapidly rose to recognition. In 1977—where it all began—Dawson won the Rookie of the Year award, became an everyday outfielder for the Expos, and finished the year with .282 average, 19 homeruns, and 21 stolen bases.
In seven seasons, Andre Dawson afforded the Expos a player that hit at least 20 home runs every season, stole at least 20 bases every season, and Dawson became the only Expo to ever hit 200 homeruns and steal 200 bases; a club record that will forever be held by Dawson.
His undeniable defensive and offensive play garnered him 2nd in MVP voting in 1981 losing out to Mike Schmidt, and again placing second in 1983 losing out to Dale Murphy.
The time spent on the Montreal’s turf, however, began to take its toll on Dawson which forced his exodus out of Montreal in search of a new “field of dreams”.
That field would be Wrigley.
Dawson’s endeavor to play for one of the most storied franchises in MLB didn’t come easy though, as Dawson was met with resistance from then owner Dallas Green. Green had already had a player in right field (Brian Dayett) and was concerned with Dawson’s knee issues.
Later that spring, during spring training, Dawson presented a blank contract to Green as a last ditch effort to prove he was willing to do whatever to play for the Cubs. Green took advantage of the situation and gave Dawson an anemic $500,000 base salary, and laced in another $250,000 in incentives IF Dawson made the All-Star team, started the All-Star game, or won the National League MVP.
To Green’s surprise, Dawson accomplished all three, and so began his famed career as a Cub.
For anyone growing up in the late eighties to early nineties—especially Cubs fans—Andre Dawson was as synonymous with Cubs’ baseball as Harry Carey.
To me, as a kid, Dawson was the best player in baseball, and no one even came close. He was as fast as lighting, and was better at thieving bases than the Hamburgler was at pilfering hamburgers.
He was the unstoppable power bat in Chicago, and the only thing more intimidating than his swing was his larger than life appearance on the television every Saturday—although that probably had a lot to do with the screens back then—thank you JVC.
Andre Dawson was the Cubs.
For Cubs fans alike, Dawson was one of the most popular players in team history, and a mainstay in the community from 1987 until 1992, when he left for Boston.
His time spent with Chicago, however, was one for the ages as Dawson boasted a .285 average, 174 homeruns, 587 RBIs, and 57 stolen bases—all natural, bad knees and all.
In 1996 Dawson retired as a Florid Marlin after serving one year for the Red Sox, and in 2003 Dawson finally received a World Series ring as a member of the front office.
To add to Dawson’s lofty accomplishments, he is one of six players to hit 300 homeruns and steal 300 bases in a career (the 300-300 club), AND he is one of only three players to hit 400 homeruns and steal 300 bases in a career; an achievement only shared with Barry Bonds and Willie Mays.
After 21 years of above average service to MLB, eight All-Stars, eight Golden Gloves, Rookie of the Year, and an MVP award—not to mention another nine years of patiently waiting—the reason for Dawson not receiving enough votes to get into the Hall of Fame is inexplicable to say the least.
This January, though, will present itself with another round of shear hope as Dawson—as well as millions of Dawson fans— will once again patiently anticipate the announcement that whispers “inductment”.
An announcement that is long overdue.