Aug 14, 2009
Un-measurable HOF Credentials, Dawson's "Three D's"
A few days ago MLB.com published an article on a youth program called Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI). Ten teams are in Florida this week to compete in RBI's World Series. Andre Dawson, Tony Perez, and Sharon Robinson, daughter of Jackie Robinson, spoke to the teams' players at the opening banquet.*
Andre spoke to the kids about playing the game by his "Three D's" -- Dedication, Determination, and Discipline. The Hawk knows the "Three D's" quite well; after all, he displayed them for the world to see over his 21-year career.
Dedication: Andre was dedicated to the game of baseball. He played for well under what he was worth in 1987 to join the Cubs. Of course, I'm referring to the blank contract. In today's sports era, there are draft picks who refuse to sign with teams because they feel they weren't offered contracts for what their worth. They haven’t even stepped onto a pro-level field yet, but feel entitled to a certain amount of money. Andre was an established star in the league and yet he took a pay cut to play the game.
Further in point, he had an MVP season for a last place team that year. He didn't quit on the team, he continued to perform at a high level even when there was no hope to make the playoffs. Isn't that a credential of a Hall of Fame caliber player? Just ask Ernie Banks.
Determination: It is common knowledge that Andre's knees were pretty much non-existent by the time he finished his career. He was determined to not let bad knees affect his glove work out in right field. If he could reach a ball by diving for it, he did it. That's why he was an 8-time Gold Glover.
Discipline: Andre approached every game and at bat with discipline. He gave everything he had running the base paths and with every swing of his bat. As Ryne Sandberg said in his Hall of Fame induction speech, "No player in baseball history worked harder, suffered more or did it better than Andre Dawson. He's the best I've ever seen."**
The reason I'm blogging on these aspects of Andre's character is that I feel people, Hall of Fame voters to be specific, get so caught up in numbers that they sometimes overlook Hall of Fame qualities that aren't measurable.
Here's my "Three D's" for Andre: Deserves to be in the Hall, Defines a Hall of Famer, and Demonstrated a Hall of Fame player on and off the field.