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Andre Dawson

Right fielder / Center fielder
Born: July 10, 1954 (1954-07-10) (age 55)
Miami, Florida
Batted: Right Threw: Right 
MLB debut
September 11, 1976 for the Montreal Expos
Last MLB appearance
September 29, 1996 for the Florida Marlins
Career statistics
Batting average     .279
Hits     2,774
Home runs     438
Runs batted in     1,591
Teams
Career highlights and awards
Incoming Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Induction     2010
Vote     77.9% (9th ballot)

Andre Nolan Dawson (born July 10, 1954 in Miami, Florida), nicknamed "The Hawk", is a Hall of Fame center/right fielder who played for four Major League Baseball teams from 1976 to 1996, spending most of his career with the Montreal Expos (1976–1986) and Chicago Cubs (1987–1992).

An 8-time National League (NL) All-Star, he was named the league's Rookie of the Year in 1977 after batting .282 with 19 home runs and 65 runs batted in (RBI), and won the Most Valuable Player Award in 1987 after leading the league with 49 homers and 137 RBI; he had been runner-up for the award in both 1981 and 1983. He batted .300 five times, drove in 100 runs four times and had 13 seasons of 20 home runs. A strong baserunner early in his career, he also stole 30 bases three times, and in 1993 joined Willie Mays as the second major league player to hit 400 home runs and steal 300 bases.

Dawson was an excellent center fielder until knee problems – worsened by the artificial surface at Olympic Stadium – forced his shift to right field, followed by his move to a team which played on grass. He led the NL in outfield putouts three consecutive years (1981–1983), and won eight Gold Glove Awards for fielding excellence. Upon his retirement, his NL totals of 409 home runs and 962 extra base hits both ranked tenth in league history; he also ranked seventh in NL history in games as an outfielder (2,303), and sixth in both outfield putouts (5,116) and total chances (5,366). He set Expos franchise records for career games, at bats, runs scored, hits, doubles, triples, home runs, runs batted in, extra base hits, total bases and steals, all of which have since been broken variously by Tim Raines, Tim Wallach and Vladimir Guerrero. Dawson will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on July 25, 2010.[1][2]

Contents

Career

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Montreal Expos

Dawson was selected by the Expos in the 11th round (pick #250) of the 1975 Major League Baseball Draft. He played in 24 major league games in 1976 after making his debut on September 11. His stardom rose in 1977 when he became an everyday outfielder for the Expos, and batted .282 with 19 home runs and 21 stolen bases. He was awarded the 1977 Rookie of the Year in the National League, narrowly beating out Steve Henderson of the New York Mets.[2] Dawson had a blend of power and speed, hitting at least 20 home runs in his seven seasons with the Expos, and stealing at least 20 bases in seven seasons. Dawson, playing primarily center field for the Expos, also became an excellent defensive player, gaining his first of eight Gold Glove Awards in 1980. Based on his all-around excellence, Dawson was second in the National League MVP voting in 1981 (won by Mike Schmidt) and second again in 1983 (won by Dale Murphy).

Dawson played 1,443 games with the Expos, fourth highest in franchise history. As an Expo, Dawson set single-season club records for home runs (32, now seventh), RBI (113, now fourth), extra base hits (78, now seventh), and sacrifice flies (18, still first). He still holds the Expos career record for sacrifice flies (71), and is the only player to hit 200 home runs and steal 200 bases with Montreal.

In 1984 Dawson appeared in The Cap, a short film about a young boy living in Montreal that was given a baseball cap by Dawson.

Chicago Cubs

Dawson in right field at Wrigley Field, August 1988

Dawson played for the Expos until after the 1986 season when he became a free agent and sought a team whose home field had natural grass, as his knee injuries were aggravated by Olympic Stadium's artificial turf. However, due to collusion on the part of the Major League Baseball owners, he was unable to attract offers.[3] Dawson 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 with a signed blank contract in an attempt to secure a contract with the Cubs. Dawson and Moss' stunt was derided as a "dog and pony show" by Green. After reviewing the contract, Green reached an agreement with Moss on a salary of $500,000, with a $250,000 in incentives if he made the All-Star team, started in the All-Star Game, and won the NL MVP.[2][4][5][6]

He did all three, enjoying one of his finest seasons in 1987 in terms of raw statistics.[7] He became the Cubs' starting right fielder, and hit 49 home runs and was named the league's MVP, finally winning after the two years as runner-up in Montreal. Nonetheless, Dawson wasn't able to turn around the Cubs' fortunes: although the team held first place for nearly half of May and remained in contention through July, the Cubs finished the 1987 season at 76-85, last in the National League East.[8] Dawson was the first player to ever win a league MVP trophy from a last place team.[9]

Dawson played five more seasons with the Cubs, and was one of the franchise's most popular players during that time. Unfortunately, his worst individual season came in 1989, when the Cubs won the National League East title. Then, during the NL Championship Series, Dawson slumped terribly, hitting .105 as the San Francisco Giants beat the Cubs 4 games to 1.

Dawson's .507 career slugging percentage with the Cubs is fourth highest in team history.

Boston Red Sox

In October of 1992 the Red Sox signed Dawson as a free agent.[10] On April 15 at Fenway Park, Andre Dawson hit his 400th career home run. Dawson sustained a knee injury early in the 1993 season in a game against the Texas Rangers which limited him to only 121 games in his first year with the Red Sox: "I got caught between sliding and standing up on a passed ball. I was on second base, and I took a chop step between strides and hit the corner of the third-base bag. I had knee surgery and [Boston] decided to use me in the DH role."[10]

Dawson would have knee surgery the following year as well, and only managed to play 75 games in his second, and final season with Boston.[10]

Florida Marlins

Andre Dawson played his last two years in Florida then retired after the 1996 season.

Post Playing Career

Dawson got his first World Series ring in 2003 World Series while in the Florida Marlins front office. He is currently an assistant of the Marlins.

Accomplishments

Dawson 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 record over 300 home runs and 300 stolen bases in his career (300-300 club); the other players to accomplish this 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.

Hall of Fame

Dawson was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010, his ninth year of eligibility, rising from an initial vote total of 45.3% in 2002 to 77.9% in 2010.[1][11][2]

The major impediments to Dawson's election to the Hall of Fame had been his career .323 on base percentage, a relatively average figure, and the fact that his raw statistics are less impressive after accounting for his playing time in Wrigley Field, a favorable hitter's environment. Cubs teammate Ryne Sandberg campaigned for Dawson's induction during his speech at his own Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 2005: "No player in baseball history worked harder, suffered more or did it better than Andre Dawson. He's the best I've ever seen. I watched him win an MVP for a last-place team in 1987 [with the Cubs], and it was the most unbelievable thing I've ever seen in baseball. He did it the right way, the natural way, and he did it in the field and on the bases and in every way, and I hope he will stand up here someday."[12]

See also

Notes

  • Bill, James (1988). The Bill James Baseball Abstract. Ballantine Books / Random House.  
  • Bill, James (2001). The new Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. The Free Press / Simon & Shuster.  

References

  1. ^ a b Blum, Ronald (2010-01-06). "Andre Dawson elected to Hall of Fame" (HTML). Yahoo! Inc.. http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news;_ylt=AmRZDXu1nmYqJO2KUwcHBQI5nYcB?slug=ap-halloffame&prov=ap&type=lgns. Retrieved 2010-01-06.  
  2. ^ a b c d Blum, Ronald, Mike Fitzpatrick and Adam Pemble. "With Dawson in Hall, Future Bright for Blyleven". Associated Press. January 7, 2010.
  3. ^ Chass, Murray (1992-12-15). "Big Collusion Winners: Clark, Parrish, Dawson" (HTML). New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/1992/12/15/sports/baseball-big-collusion-winners-clark-parrish-dawson.html. Retrieved 2010-01-07.  
  4. ^ Mitchell, Fred (2010-01-07). "Dallas Green recalls Andre Dawson 'blank check' signing" (HTML). Chicago Tribune. http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/chi-07-mitchell-andre-dawson-jan07,0,6989682.column. Retrieved 2010-01-07.  
  5. ^ Rogers, Phil (2010-01-06). "'Respect' drove Dawson to sign blank contract" (HTML). Chicago Breaking Sports News. http://www.chicagobreakingsports.com/2010/01/respect-drove-dawson-to-sign-blank-contract.html. Retrieved 2010-01-07.  
  6. ^ Muskat, Carrie (2009-12-23). "Dawson on Hall ballot for ninth time" (HTML). MLB.com. http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20091124&content_id=7715234&vkey=news_chc&fext=.jsp&c_id=chc. Retrieved 2010-01-07.  
  7. ^ Note that Bill James considers Dawson's best years to be from 1979-1983, with his higher Chicago numbers being due to Wrigley Field's advantageous environment for hitters (James 2001).
  8. ^ Falvey, Christopher. "Live MLB Baseball pennant races, scores, standings, stats, graphs, charts throughout Major League history" (HTML). baseballrace.com. http://www.baseballrace.com/races/MLB-1987-NL_East-Normal.asp. Retrieved 2010-01-08.  
  9. ^ Nightengale, Bob (2010-01-06). "Dawson elected to Hall; Blyleven, Alomar just shy" (HTML). USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/hallfame/2010-01-06-2010-hof-class_N.htm. Retrieved 2010-01-08.  
  10. ^ a b c Edes, Gordon. "Dawson Had the Tools to Build a Solid Case". boston.com. January 10, 2006.
  11. ^ Kaduk, Kevin (2010-01-06). "Whoa! Dawson heads to Hall while Alomar and Blyleven just miss" (HTML). Yahoo! Inc.. http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/blog/big_league_stew/post/Whoa-Dawson-heads-to-Hall-while-Alomar-and-Blyl;_ylt=AlGdB9WKN3JNKu9Py_jKbxo5nYcB?urn=mlb,212118. Retrieved 2010-01-06.  
  12. ^ "Ryne Sandberg's Hall-of-Fame Induction Speech" (HTML). CubsNet. 2005-07-31. http://www.cubsnet.com/node/526. Retrieved 2010-01-09.  

External links


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