Jan 27, 2010

It's Official, Andre is Entering the Hall as an Expo.

Okay, I could be a disappointed Cub fan today, but it's hard for me to sit here and feel that way. Andre's in the Hall and that's enough for me; wearing a Cubs jersey was just going to be icing on the cake.

Andre became one of the best players in the game during his time in Montreal and that shouldn't be overlooked. True he reached career highs and led the National League in home runs (49) and RBIs (137) in 1987 as a Cub. But as an Expo he reached a career high in hits and also led the NL with 189 in 1983 and had his only 100 run seasons (107 - 1982 and 104 - 1983).

I don't think it should be questioned whether his years as an Expo were more deserving to be honored than his time spent as a Cub. I think what should be questioned is why the Hall of Fame has the ultimate decision. Why isn't it the player's choice? Andre wanted to wear a Cubs' cap on induction day.

Andre was the one who endured through some awful seasons in which the Expos and Cubs were not competitive - not the Hall. Andre was the one who helped carry the team in the seasons they were play-off contenders. Andre was the one who would get up out of bed the day after a night game with achy knees and head back to the ball park to do it all over again. How he wants to be remembered should be his decision, so I repeat - not the Hall!

So as I sit here writing this post, I just want to remind Dawson fans, Cub fans, Expo fans, baseball fans...it doesn't matter what cap will be on Andre's plaque, what matters is that he's there among baseball's greatest.

Jan 17, 2010

Which Cap Does Andre Look Best In?

Since Andre's election to the Hall of Fame on January 6th, the question a foot has been will he be inducted wearing a Cubs or Expos cap.

What team should an elected player represent in the Hall of Fame has not been a prevailing debate for most of its history. Cal Ripken Jr., not a question, Tony Gwynn, not a question, Ryne Sandberg, not a question, etc. Gone are the days of a player playing majority of his career with one team thanks to free agency.

The reason it has been up for debate in Andre's case is that he spent more seasons (11) in Montreal while putting up majority of his statistics there. However as a Cub for six seasons, Andre rose to national prominence and became one of baseball's most well known ambassadors.

Here's a look at his numbers between the two clubs*:

Montreal Expos 1976-1986: 225 HRs, 838 RBIs, .280 Avg., 1575 Hits, 828 Runs, 253 SBs

Chicago Cubs 1987-1992: 174 HRs, 587 RBIs, .285 Avg., 929 Hits, 431 Runs, 57 SBs

As a Cubs fan I naturally want to see him don the Cubs cap on July 25th.

As an Andre Dawson fan I'm just glad he is a Hall of Famer regardless of the cap he will wear.

But as a blogger, I wouldn't feel right if I didn't share my opinion on this, so here it is.

Top Ten reasons Andre should be inducted as a Cub:

10. MVP trumps ROY. Andre's 1987 MVP award with the last-place Cubs is more impressive than this 1977 ROY award with the Expos. He was the first player to win the MVP on a last-place team, which in itself is true testament to the type of player he was. When most may have turned in a lack luster effort, Andre kicked it into higher gear.

9. 5-time All-Star with Cubs (1987-1991) versus 3 times as an Expo (1981-1983).

8. Career highs in Home Runs (49) and RBIs (137) as a Cub.

7. Joined the 300 HRs / 300 SBs club as a Cub.

6. The "C" logo on the Cubs cap makes sense. The logo on the Expo cap never looked like an "M." Amazing that franchise never changed the "JL" into a cleaner logo.

5. 3-100 RBI seasons as a Cub (1987, 1991 & 1992), only 1 as an Expo.

4. Hit more Home Runs at Wrigley Field (Cubs) than Olympic Stadium (Expos) (110 to 102)*. Even before he joined the Cubs in '87, he loved hitting in Wrigley.

3. Ryne Sandberg. While Hall of Famer Gary Carter was a teammate of Andre's in Montreal (1976-1984), Andre/Ryno was the Jordan/Pippen of Chicago baseball. The tandem should wear the same cap in the Hall. I'll let you decide which is Jordan in this equation.

2. The Cubs have stated that they'll retire his #8 if he enters the Hall as a Cub. First, let me say that I believe they should do this regardless of the cap he wears. Second, that statement is insane considering the cap he wears is ultimately the Hall's decision. Andre gets to share his input, but it's not his call. I think it would show a lot of class on the Cubs part to do it even if the Expos are chosen. If he is immortalized as an Expo in the Hall, then immortalize him as a Cub at Wrigley. But let's not take chances here; let's make the decision for the Cubs easy.

1. Cubs are forever. Expos are now the Nationals. 20, 30 years from now, kids won't even remember the Expos. Do you think kids today know who the Washington Senators were? I want the next generation of fans that visit the Hall of Fame to recognize the cap on his plaque and recognize him as one of the greatest Cubs ever!

* www.baseball-reference.com

Jan 6, 2010

Andre is Elected to HOF with 77.9%, Congrats Hawk!!!

Congratulations Andre on your long awaited and deserved call to the Hall!

For 21 seasons you gave baseball and its’ fans your heart and best effort when you stepped onto the field. Now that effort will be immortalized among baseball’s greatest for all-time.

I congratulate and thank the BBWAA voters for making the right decision; albeit one that should have been made sooner, but a decision that Andre, his fans and baseball deserve.

What makes it the right decision?

The right decision for Andre because he was truly one of the best during his time in baseball. He achieved greatness in his career by winning the NL Rookie of the Year in 1977 and NL MVP in 1987, winning 8 Gold Gloves, winning four Silver Slugger Awards, and being one of only three players to amass at least 400 home runs and 300 stolen bases.

The right decision for his fans because now everyone can recognize Andre the way we have for the last 8 years since he has appeared on the ballot, as a Hall of Famer!

The right decision for baseball because one day I’ll be able to show my child Andre’s display at Cooperstown and be able to tell him, “Andre played the game right, reciprocated the respect fans and peers showed him and played through the pain of his knees to become one of the game’s greatest.”

Now, isn’t that good for baseball, to have Andre in the Hall of Fame to serve as one of baseball’s great examples of how hard work and persistence pays off?

Congratulations once again Andre, you’ve earned the honor of being called a Hall of Famer!

If you would like to congratulate Andre on this achievement and his career, leave a comment below and I’ll send it to him.

Winners of the Hall of Fame Predictor Contest

Andre was the sole induction for this year's Hall of Fame class with 77.9%. Three people picked him as the only player to get elected: Gooseneck (78.3), Ronnie Phillips (78.6) and Danny (81.2).

Gooseneck is the winner with the closest % of the three, Ronnie is second. Gooseneck, email me with your choice of one of three prizes, the Mickey Mantle, Nolan Ryan, or Cal Ripken cards. Ronnie, email me your first and second choices.

30-Year Old Cardboard was almost dead-on with Andre's %, guessing 77.8, however he also chose Roberto Alomar to be elected. Since he was so close with the %, I'm going to send him a honorable mention prize!

Thanks everyone for participating!!!!

Jan 5, 2010

Entries in the Hall of Fame Predictor Contest

Here's the final entries in the Hall of Fame Predictor Contest. Good luck everyone.

Roberto Alomar - 75.7%
Barry Larkin - 78.1

Andre Dawson - 80.3%
Bert Blyleven - 75.4%

Andre Dawson - 80.7%
Roberto Alomar - 79.9%
Bert Blyleven - 77.2%

'30-Year Old Cardboard
Roberto Alomar - 81.3
Andre Dawson - 77.8

Andre Dawson - 79.8%
Roberto Alomar - 76.2%

Andre Dawson - 81.2%

Peralta's Point
Andre Dawson - 80.2%
Bert Blyleven - 76.8%

Ronnie Phillips
Andre Dawson - 78.6%

Andre Dawson - 78.3%

Andre Belongs, Just Compare His 162 Game Average!

It’s no big secret that Andre played most of his career in pain due to his knees. Because of that he was usually limited to less than 150 games a season. In fact, in his 21 seasons, he only played 150 games or more 6 times.

If you look at his 162 game average statistics compared to several Hall of Famers, he is right on par with them. For the purpose of this post, I chose 6 similar batters: Billy Williams, Reggie Jackson, Dave Winfield, Eddie Murray, Tony Perez and Willie McCovey.*

Dawson: 27 HRs, 98 RBIs, .279 Avg., 19 SBs, 171 Hits, 85 Runs, 6 seasons of 150+ G
Williams: 28 HRs, 96 RBIs, .298 Avg., 6 SBs, 177 Hits, 92 Runs, 13 seasons of 150+ G
Jackson: 32 HRs, 98 RBIs, .262 Avg., 13 SBs, 148 Hits, 89 Runs, 6 seasons of 150+ G
Winfield: 25 HRs, 100 RBIs, .283 Avg., 12 SBs, 169 Hits, 91 Runs, 10 seasons of 150+ G
Murray: 27 HRs, 103 RBIs, .287 Avg., 6 SBs, 174 Hits, 87 Runs, 16 seasons of 150 + G
Perez: 22 HRs, 96 RBIs, .279 Avg., 3 SBs, 159 Hits, 74 Runs, 9 seasons of 150+ G
McCovey: 33 HRs, 97 RBIs, .270 Avg., 2 SBs, 138 Hits, 77 Runs, 4 seasons of 150+ G

I think it should be noted that Jackson, Winfield and Murray spent more than double the amount of games in the DH position than Andre: Jackson – 630, Winfield – 419, Murray – 573 and Dawson – 171.

Andre loved playing in Chicago and for the Wrigley faithful. You can’t fault him for that, but if he had moved to the AL earlier in his career than 1993, can you imagine the numbers he might have put up offensively? I don’t think we would be having this conversation on whether or not he should be in; he would be in first or second ballot!

Regardless, he belongs in the Hall with the rest of those guys mentioned above!


Jan 4, 2010

1991 - A Special Season for The Hawk and Myself

The 1991 season was supposed to be the year the Cubs broke the curse and won the World Series (That's every year to a Cubs fan). With the newly acquired George Bell batting behind Andre, the Cubs were a likely favorite with three former MVPs in the line-up (Dawson, Bell and Ryne Sandberg). However, the Cubs finished with a disappointing 77-83 record, finishing 4th in the NL East. While the Cubs didn't enjoy much success in 1991, Andre did.*

Andre made his eighth and final appearance in the All-Star game, his fifth straight appearance since joining the Cubs in 1987. He finished the first half of 1991 tied for most home runs in the NL with 15 and was sixth in RBI with 52.**

What made 1991 special for me was that I got to attend the final game of that amazing first half. The game was July 7 at St. Louis; we drove from Oklahoma to see it. My family planned our summer vacation entirely around that game, so it was a big deal.

The Cubs won the first two games of the series. In the game on July 6th, Andre went 3 for 5 with a home run and a double to drive in 3 RBIs; Cubs won 12-2. I was hoping he would save some of that offense for the game we would attend the next day.

We brought our home made signs to the game, rooting for the Cubs to sweep the Cards. Of course, we got heckled by the home team fans, but I didn't let that damper my opportunity to see my first Cubs game live and my favorite player in action too.

Andre had one hit that night in four at-bats, but that one hit was a two-run home run. It was a deep left/center field shot off of Ken Hill in the 3rd inning.

The Cubs lost that game 8-7. The game was my first and last time to see Andre play and he didn't disappoint. Sure the Cubs lost, but even at the age of 12 I realized how special it was to have your favorite player come through for you with a home run.

A couple of days later he hit a solo shot over the center field wall in the All-Star game at the Skydome. The blast came in the fourth inning off of Roger Clemens; NL lost 4-2.***

He capped the season off with his fourth Silver Slugger award. It was most deservingly considering he hit two of his six career grand slams that season and his two pinch-hits in 1991 were both home runs.****

Andre finished 1991 with:*
Games - 149
Home Runs - 31 (4th in the NL)
RBIs - 104 (6th and accomplished back to back 100 RBI seasons)
Stolen Bases - 4
Hits - 153
Runs - 69
Avg. - .272
Total Bases - 275 (9th)
AB Per HR - 18.2 (7th)

What's your Andre Dawson memory? Please share with a comment!

* www.baseball-reference.com
** 1991 Upper Deck
*** www.wikipedia.org
**** 1992 Upper Deck

Jan 3, 2010

TWO DAYS LEFT....Hall of Fame Predictor Contest!!!!

To help celebrate what I hope will be Andre's election to the Hall and the New Year; I feel a contest is in order.

Here are the rules:

1. Leave a comment with who you believe will be elected Tuesday to the Hall of Fame.

2. Also indicate what you believe will be the voting percentage for each player(s) that is elected to the decimal point, for example, 75.2.

3. You have until the end of Monday night to enter.

4. The person who selects the correct player(s) with the closest voting percentages wins. The winner will get first choice of the prizes below. The person who comes in second will also get a prize and will choose between the remaining two prizes.

The prizes:

Prizes are cards from three current Hall of Fame greats.

Mickey Mantle - 20 cards from the 1997 Mickey Mantle 7 Collection.

Nolan Ryan - 5 cards from the 1991 Upper Deck Nolan Ryan Baseball Heroes collection and his 1991 Upper Deck series card.

Cal Ripken Jr. - 5 cards from the 1996 Upper Deck Cal Ripken Jr. Collection and his 1996 Topps card celebrating the 2,131 game.

Good luck everyone and Happy New Year!

Andre Dawson: The College Years

Did you know before Andre was an Expo and a Cub he was a Rattler? As in Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University Rattlers.

Andre attended Florida A&M from 1973-1975 and was drafted in the 11th round by the Expos in 1975.* He majored in Physical Education.

Three other future Major Leaguers played for A&M:
Hal McRae - 1964-1965, 6th Round by the Reds
Vince Coleman - 1979-1982, 10th Round by the Cardinals
Marquis Grissom - 1986-1988, 3rd Round by the Expos

Andre turned in a pretty great professional career for being drafted in a later round than all three of his fellow alumni. I would love to share with you this college statistics, but it’s difficult to find statistics for that school that far back.

However, here’s his minor league stats.**
1975 –
Rookie, 72 G, 13 HRs, 50 RBIs, 11 SBs, .330 Avg., 99 Hits, 52 Runs, .381 OBP

1976 –
AA, 40 G, 8 HRs, 27 RBIs, 9 SBs, .357 Avg., 51 Hits, 27 Runs, .409 OBP

AAA, 74 G, 20 HRs, 46 RBIs, 10 SBs, .350 Avg., 84 Hits, 51 Runs, .410 OBP

Dawson, McRae, Coleman, and Grissom have been inducted into the Florida A&M Atheletic Hall of Fame.** Now, if we can only get Andre into another Hall of Fame, the Baseball Hall of Fame!


Jan 2, 2010

Six Degree of Andre Dawson

Everyone has heard of that game where you can link Kevin Bacon to any actor based on movies he’s been in. Well, I thought it would be fun in anticipation of Andre being voted into the Hall of Fame to show the unique connections he has with some of the players already in the Hall.

Let’s get started.

Willie McCovey – Andre and Willie are the only two players to have hit 2 home runs in the same inning twice. (Andre did it in 7/30/78 vs. Braves and 9/24/85 vs. Cubs)

Willie Mays – Andre and Willie make up 2/3rds of the 400 HRs / 300 SBs club along with Barry Bonds.

Paul Molitor – Won 4 Silver Sluggers (1987, 1988, 1993 & 1996), Andre won 4 (1980, 1981, 1983 & 1987).

Johnny Bench – Won the M.L. Hutch award in 1981, Andre won in it 1994.

Bill Mazeroski – Won 8 Gold Gloves at 2B, Andre won 8 for OF.

Billy Williams – Along with being another Cub great, was inducted in 1987 the same year that Andre was named NL MVP for the Cubs.

Eddie Murray – Won the 1977 AL ROY, Andre won the 1977 NL ROY.

Rod Carew – Won both the ROY and MVP awards ten years apart (1967, 1977) as did Andre (1977, 1987).

Gary Carter – Not only were they Expo teammates but both have their numbers retired by the Expos (Carter 8, Dawson 10).

Cal Ripken Jr. – Made the # 8 famous, Cal’s Orioles’ jersey #, and Andre’s Cubs’ jersey #.

Frank Robinson – Hit 49 home runs, a career high, and led the Al in 1966. Andre also hit 49 home runs as a career high and led the NL in 1987.

Bruce Sutter – Made his MLB debut the same year as Andre in 1976 (Sutter 5/9/76, Andre 9/11/76).

Ozzie Smith – Both greats retired from the game after the 1996 season.

Tony Perez - Both finished their distinguished careers with a life-time batting average of .2794.

Steve Carlton – Not only did Andre get the best of him in their meetings (.291 avg. 4 HRs, 14 RBIs), but both were born in Miami, FL (Carlton – Dec. 1944, Andre – July 1954). When Andre gets elected, they will be the only two players in the HOF that were born in Florida.

Ryne Sandberg – Not only were they teammates, but Ryno praised Andre 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. I watched him win an MVP for a last place team in 1987, 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.”

Source: www.baseball-reference.com

Jan 1, 2010

My Fave Five Andre Dawson Cards!

One thing about Andre was that he always knew how to take a good photo. His cards always had something special to them. You just got a sense of how hard he played the game by looking at them.

Below are the five cards out of my collection that are my favorite. They remind me of all of the reasons I've enjoyed watching The Hawk and collecting his cards over the years.

1. 1991 Donruss The Elite Series #04363/10,000

I remember when these cards were introduced. It was the first real numbered insert that I can recall. I bought so many 1991 Donruss wax packs trying to pull one of these bad boys. Never had any luck, I finally had to purchase this one on eBay a few years ago. I love the design and that from Andre's expression; you know he must have got a hold of one. It's like a piece of artwork!

2. 1977 Topps Rookie Card

Your favorite player's rookie card always holds a special place in your heart and I'm no different.

3. 2003 Donruss Signature Series Legends of the Summer #56/100

This card is just beautiful to me. I love the nostalgic design and what more could you ask for from that signature, I love that he scribed it "MVP '87."

4. 1996 Leaf Signature Series

I thought this was the greatest thing when Leaf Signature Series came out. Before this series, almost the only way to get an autographed card was at card shows. The idea of getting an autograph from opening a pack of cards was amazing to me. Of course these packs were expensive to a high school kid; I believe they were something ridiculous like $16 a pack!

5. 1990 Leaf

This has been a favorite of mine for a long time. I just love pictures of Andre batting. The design is so clean and simple that it looks perfect to get an autograph on.

Those are my fave five, what's yours?