Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Why "The Hawk" Should Land in Cooperstown Today
Andre Dawson will find out at 1:00 P.M. CST whether he will be immortalized in Cooperstown, NY as a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Dawson received 65.9% of the votes of last year's ballots, falling shy of the 75% required for enshrinement. The Hawk's name will need to show up on roughly 41 additional ballots this year to receive the most prestigious honor that baseball can bestow.
I'm a firm believer that the stats, in their pure form, do not lie but they can be interpretted according to one's life perspective and biases. However, more influential and meaningful than statistics are the words describing one's character as intimated by one's friends, teammates, and peers.
I believe that Cubs Hall of Fame second baseman Ryne Sandberg echoed the sentiments of the entire Cubs nation when in 2005, during his own Hall of Fame induction speech ,he lobbied for Dawson's enshrinement in saying:
"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."
Here is a recap of Andre Dawson's remarkable career:
Nicknamed "The Hawk", Andre Dawson played 21 seasons in the major leagues for the Montreal Expos, Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox, and Florida Marlins. In 2,627 career games The Hawk amassed 2,774 hits, 438 homeruns, and 1,591 runs batted in. In addition, Dawson stole 314 bases despite battling chronic knee problems (undoubtedly agitated by playing on the artificial surface in Montreal's Olympic Stadium). Dawson finished his career with a .279 batting average, a .323 on-base percentage, and a robust .482 slugging percentage. The Hawk finished in the top 10 in batting average 5-times and 8-times in slugging percentage.
An 8-time all-star and 4-time Silver Slugger Award winner, Dawson was the recepient of the 1977 Rookie of the Year award. 10 years later, in 1987, he won the National League Most Valuable Player award after batting .287 and leading the league with 49 homeruns and 137 runs batted in, a .568 slugging percentage, 341 total bases, and a respectable .328 on-base percentage. He accomplished all of this while playing for a last place Cubs team. He was the runner-up in MVP voting twice, after the 1981 and 1983 seasons. Dawson was also an outstanding defensive outfielder. He was an 8-time Gold Glove Award Winner, including 6 in a row from from the 1980-1985 seasons. Dawson finished his career with a .980 fielding percentage and 157 outfield assists.
In 1993, Dawson joined Hall of Famer Willie Mays as the second player in Major League Baseball history to hit 400 homeruns and steal 300 bases. In 1994, Dawson was awarded the Hutch Award, given to the active player that best exemplifies the fighting spirit and competitive desire to win.