May 22, 2009

How Andre Became a Cub

For my first post, I want to share a story about Andre that shows what set him apart from other superstars of the game. I could talk about him hitting 49 homeruns in a single year or his 8 glove gloves, but I think how he became a Chicago Cub makes a strong case on what type of Hall of Fame caliber player he was.

The biggest story every off season of Major League Baseball is which superstar is optioning out of his contract for more money or which is not resigning because the offer was not large enough.

Andre finished his contract in 1986 with the Montreal Expos, hitting 20 homeruns and driving 78 runs, while batting .284, outstanding numbers for that era. He had also finished 8 punishing years playing on astroturf that tore up his knees. Andre knew where he wanted to go, Wrigley Field, where the grass was plentiful as were his statistics at that stadium.

Only problem was that the Cubs weren’t that interested. Dawson had campaigned for the Cubs to sign him during the offseason, but general manager Dallas Green resisted. Two weeks into spring training, Dawson presented Green with an offer he couldn’t refuse. He presented Green with a blank contract.

Baseball is a business, always remember that. So what did Green do? He filled in the contract with a miminal figure of a $500,000 salary. While that seems fair to you and I, at the time other baseball superstars were making three to four times that.

How did Andre respond? By winning the 1987 National Leage Most Valuable Player award.