HOF ’09: Andre Dawson

“No player in baseball history worked harder, suffered more or did it better than Andre Dawson. He’s the best I’ve ever seen.”

Hall of Fame secondbaseman Ryne Sandberg

 

Over the years, I’ve gone back and forth on the Andre Dawson question.  Lately though, I’m beginning to feel the Hawk belongs.  The votes have been close lately, receiving the most votes in 2008 to this point. 

Dawson Facts

  • Drafted by the Montreal Expos in the 11th round in 1975
  • Played for Mon, ChiC, Bos, Fla (1976-1996)
  • Seven time All-Star, Eight Golden Gloves
  • Hit for the cycle April 29, 1987
  • 438 HR, 1591 RBIs, 314 SB

 

After a brief cup of coffee for the Montreal Expos in 1976, Andre Dawson’s rookie season in 1977 pretty much summed up the kind of player he was.  A five tool athlete could hit (.282), hit for power (19 HR), run (19 SB) and field.  For his efforts, Dawson was awarded the Rookie of the Year award. 

Though his hitting dipped (.253), his sophomore year was no jinx (25 HR, 28 SB) and for that matter so were the next five or six years.  As a matter of fact, he hit over .300 three years straight.  In 1984, he did hit only .248 but managed to drive in 86 runs anyway.  Dawson’s big year with Montreal was in 1983.  That year, he hit the century mark in runs (104) and rbis (113) while cranking 32 homeruns and stealing 25 bases. 

andre_dawson_expos As part of the Expos famed outfield with Ellis Valentine  and Warren Cromartie, Dawson at least made baseball interesting to watch in Montreal. 

As a free agent, he signed with the Chicago Cubs for $700,000 in what everyone found out to be a collusion effort throughout baseball on the owners’ part.  The Cubs got their money’s worth at least from Dawson.  Despite the Cubs cellar-dwelling performance, Dawson hit 49 homeruns and 137 rbis.  He won the NL MVP award, the first player to win while playing for a last place team. 

By the 1990s, Dawson’s knees were getting the best of him and his speed had gone.  He was a smart baserunner and an instinctive in the field.  His bat still had some pop (27 HR in 1990, 31 HR in 1991) and he batted .310 in 1990. 

In 1993, he was signed by the Red Sox.  After two relatively productive years (13 and 16 HRs), he came back to the NL to play for Florida but he was pretty much finished by then squeezing out less than 300 at-bats in two years.

Pros:  If  you use the “dominate his era” argument for the Hall, you can make a good case for Dawson.  Not only is he a seven-time All-Star, he won 8 Golden Gloves.  Add to that his MVP (he came in second twice) and Rookie of the Year award, you have enough mantle metal to justify it. 

Dawson didn’t rely on one or two stats to contribute to his team.  He was a five tool player and maybe that will hurt him in the end in getting to the Hall.

Cons:  Dawson was a free swinger and thus his OBP was low throughout his career (.323).  His highest walk total for a season was 44.  His career totals don’t scream “Hall of Fame!”  He didn’t hit any of the automatic milestones (438 HR, 2774 hits… something by the way, I’m beginning to tire of).   Lastly, playing for Montreal and Chicago Cubs for the bulk of his career and therefore not getting a whole lot of postseason time (he got as far as the NLCS with Montreal in 1981, lost in the NLDS with the Cubs in 1989) won’t help. 

Maybe I’m being a Cubs homer here but I’m putting Dawson in. 

 

Hall of Fame

 

Hall of Very Good

  Why is he even on the Ballot?

 

While we wait for January 12 ballot results, The Baseball Zealot will be profiling those players who are on the 2009 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot.  Read the rest the of the profiles.

One Response to “HOF ’09: Andre Dawson”

  1. The way I remembered the Hawk signing with the Cubs, was he said, put the numbers down on paper, and I’ll sign. I thought after Andre’s MVP year, the Cubs should’ve extended the same courtesy to Dawson.

Discussion Area - Leave a Comment