Jul 26, 2010

The Hawk Soars into Cooperstown with Cubs' Fans Beneath his Wings.

Yesterday Andre Dawson took center stage of the baseball world and the world got to see what it was about the man and the player that his supporters and fans have known all along...he is the epitome of what a Hall of Famer should be.

Since it was announced in January that Andre would be joining baseball’s best in the Hall of Fame, I wasn’t sure what to expect when he would make his induction speech. The Hawk was always known as a player who let his speaking be done on the field through his play not through the media. Knowing what I do about Andre Dawson I knew that he would make his speech personal and gracious.

I knew he would thank his family, especially his Grandmother and Mother who played such a large role in shaping his approach to life. I knew he would thank his closest teammates, Tim Raines, Warren Cromartie and Shawon Dunston. I knew he would thank his fans and the organizations he played for.

I think what surprised me was how the speech was less about baseball and more about the journey he experienced. Sure he addressed the performance enhancing era of baseball and paid forward the courtesy of rooting for a fellow teammate to be elected to the Hall as Ryne Sandberg did for him a couple of years ago.

But to me, his speech was about his journey that began with family and continues to be about family. Whether he was speaking about his Uncles who introduced him to the game to the fans of Chicago who picked him up from the lowest point in his career to the inside glimpse he gave us of what his wife and children mean to him, it was family through and through.

The Hawk didn't disappoint. It was a great speech from a humble and grateful Hall of Famer. His speech made me even more proud to have rooted for him all of these years and to have started this blog.

You were the one thanking people yesterday Hawk, but I think your fans would agree with me, we should be thanking you. Thank you for giving us your best for 21 seasons and loving the game the way you did. As you said, if you love the game, it will love you back; the same can be said of your fans!

Missed Andre's induction speech? Watch it here!


Jul 25, 2010

10 Best Moments from The Hawk’s Career

To honor Andre’s official induction in the Baseball Hall of Fame today, let’s revisit some of the best moments from his storied career.

10. October 25, 2003 – Wins first World Series championship. Yes, Andre was retired, but he played an important part in the Florida Marlins second appearance in the fall classic. After his retirement from baseball, Andre joined the organization’s front office and instantly became a mentor to many of the team’s young and upcoming talent. While all Hawk fans, especially Cubs fans, would have loved his WS ring to come as a player, I am happy that he got to experience that champion feel in some capacity.

9. July 13, 1987 – In the midst of his MVP season, Andre won the Home Run Derby at the Oakland Coliseum. Who did he beat? George Bell, Ozzie Virgil and Mark McGwire.

8. September 11 and 13, 1976 – At the age of 21, The Hawk begins his career making his MLB debut. How did he do? 0-2, 1 strikeout. Fortunately that wasn’t a sign of things to come. Two days later he got his first hit, off of who else, Hall of Famer Steve Carlton. The pitcher who Andre would have great success against in the future.

7. April 29, 1987 – The Hawk did one of the more difficult things to do in the big leagues and that is hit for the cycle. It came against the Giants at Wrigley Field with Andre going 5-5 in an 8-4 win for the Cubs. Home run in the first, double in the third, single in the fourth, triple in the sixth and topped it off with a second single in the 8th.

6. October 2, 1988 – Andre broke Bobby Bonds’ record of 11 consecutive seasons of at least 10 home runs and 10 stolen bases. Just a pre-cursor of what was to come for Andre in terms of recognition for his rare blend of power and speed.

5. September 24th, 1985 – Before he became a Cub, Andre punished his future team having the best game of his career. In 6 at bats, he had 4 hits, 3 of which were home runs, with 8 RBIs and three runs scored. What can be better than that? How about becoming only the 2nd player in Major League history to hit 2 home runs in the same inning, a pair of 3-run shots in the 5th inning. Expos won by the way 17-15.

4. July 9, 1991 – The Hawk made his last All-Star appearance (8 total) and went out with a bang. Andre hit a home run in a losing effort for the NL, 2-4,off of Roger Clemens in the Toronoto Skydome.

3. April 15, 1993 - Andre hit his 400th career home run with the Red Sox on April 15 at Fenway Park in the second inning. The Sox beat the Cleveland Indians 4-3 that day. Sadly, the steroid era has diminished how special it is to reach such a plateau now, but I remember when it happened for The Hawk, how amazed I was.

2. September 22, 1990 – Andre joined two exclusive clubs by stealing his 300th base: the 300 home runs/300 stolen bases club and 300 home runs/300 stolen bases and 2,000 hits club (becoming just the second player to achieve this, Willie Mays first). It happened at Shea Stadium in a 5-11 Cubs' loss to the Mets. Other 300/300 members: Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonds, Mays, Steve Finley, and Reggie Sanders. Other 300/300/2000 members: Barry Bonds, Mays and Finely.

1. July 25, 2010 – I know its cliché, but I saved the best for last…2010 Baseball Hall of Fame Induction. Today is your day Mr. Dawson. Today is the day you don’t have to be the humble superstar athlete that we all came to love. Today you become one of baseball’s immortals and unforgettable heroes. Enjoy your day, you’ve waited a long time for this, you’ve reached the pinnacle of an athelete’s career, a career that will always be special to this Hawk fan!

Please share your favorite Hawk moment below.

Sources: www.baseball-reference.com and www.wikipedia.org