Will Dawson enter the Hall of Fame as a Cub? Or Expo?
The 'Hawk' is in the Hall of Fame! The Cubs slugger had 438 home runs and won the 1987 MVP award (the team was in last place). He played for 21 years, but only‚ six were with the Cubs. He spent the rest of his career north of the border in Montreal with the Expos. So this begs the question: Will he go into the Hall of Fame as an Expo or a Cub? We'll find out tomorrow as he has a press conference scheduled. He will also be in town this month for the Cubs convention and rumor has it, he'll be at Woodfield Mall this weekend signing autographs. What kind of player was Andre Dawson? This sums up the‚ style in which he approached the game (from Wikipedia):
He played for the Expos until after the 1986 season, when he took a pay cut to sign with the Chicago Cubs. Dawson's knee injuries were aggravated by playing on artificial turf in Montreal, and he hoped playing home games on grass at Wrigley Field would prolong his career. Dawson had campaigned for the Cubs to sign him during the offseason, but general manager Dallas Green resisted, insisting that the Cubs would start Brian Dayett in right field (Dawson had moved from center field to right field in his final two seasons as an Expo, due to the condition of his knees), and that one player could not make a 71-91 team a 91-71 team. When the Cubs opened camp in Mesa, Arizona that spring, Dawson and his agent Dick Moss arrived in an attempt to secure a contract with the Cubs. Dawson and Moss' stunt was derided as a "dog and pony show" by Green, who still wouldn't make an offer to Dawson. Two weeks into spring training, Dawson turned the tables on Green and the Cubs, presenting Green with a blank contract. Green filled in the contract with lean figures: a $500,000 base salary with $250,000 in incentives if Dawson made the All-Star team, started the All-Star Game, or won the National League MVP award. He did all three, enjoying one of his finest seasons in 1987 in terms of raw statistics.Here is a picture from 1977, taken after Dawson won the Rookie of the Year.
WBEZ Sports Contributor Cheryl Raye Stout covered the Dawson years at Wrigley:
He was a real class act. I remember that he had really paper-thin knees. He would spend hours after a game in the ice bucket. Although he didn't say much, he was very considerate and would let everyone ask their questions. Also, I was jealous of his waist! He has the smallest waist I've ever seen on a ballplayer. I know many women who would die for a waist like that.
Cheryl was also at the famous game where San Diego Padres pitcher Eric Show plunked Dawson in the head:
The game was played after the Cubs were well out of it. I remember there being a freelance camera-woman at the game and she was shooting away and she happened to get the shot of the ball hitting Dawson in the face. It's a famous picture that was picked up by Sports Illustrated. She got paid something like $1k for it. We all thought she probably could have gotten more...