A League of Her Own

Raise Your Hand If You Love The Hawk!

ANDRE DAWSON

 

There's no real Cubs news today, but there is a plethora of Andre Dawson interviews out there. So let's go with that.

First Andre gives Cubs fans the praise we so desperately crave (when your team has been bad at baseball for 100 years, you find your joy where you can):

"I'm grateful that both of those organizations gave me the opportunity to wear their uniform," Dawson said in New York Thursday, one day after receiving word of his election. "I played a little bit longer in Montreal. Of course, that's where I got my initial start.

"But, I tell you, going to Wrigley Field, playing in the 'Friendly Confines' amongst the Cubs fans, that was amazing in itself. That really rejuvenated my career, I think, and put me at a point in time where I was unsure about myself and the game and how much longer I was going to be in the game. The way the Cubs fans embraced me that first year pretty much propelled me on to winning the National League MVP award.

"I owe that organization a lot for believing in me."

Andre goes on to wax nostalgic about Montreal, Capgate, and how much more Cubs fans loved him than Milton Bradley:

Daily Herald columnist Barry Rozner, who covered Dawson in the early 1990s, said Dawson has told him numerous times he'd like to go into the Hall of Fame as a Cub.

Dawson added he was especially heartened because the fans stuck with him even as his start as a Cub wasn't what he would have liked.

"I didn't really meet the demands initially, but I just felt that in a sense I played in a media center, I played somewhere where the fans really took a hold and adored me and made me really go out and be, not really a crowd pleaser, but not embarrass them and just give it what they expected day in and day out."

Ha. It amuses me to imagine steam coming out of Milton Bradley's ears somewhere as he reads that. But I digress:

Dawson also gave a tip of the cap, so to speak, to the fans in Montreal, who supported the team in greater numbers during early '80s."I still run into a lot of fans that flock to South Florida for the winter," said Dawson, who now works for the Florida Marlins. "I still have a lot of memories of the days in Montreal. I'm most appreciative. We had huge turnouts at one point, sometimes almost closer to 3 million total.

"A lot of times, a lot of them weren't quite knowledgeable about the game. They would make comments like, 'What time is the match today?' But for the most part, they learned the game, and they enjoyed it. Again, I really had a wonderful time there. I played there for 10 years.

"To the fans, I would just like to say thank you for the support over the years."

Dawson left the Expos with some hard feelings after the 1986 season, when he couldn't come to terms on a new contract. He brought the Cubs a blank contract in the spring of 1987 and played that season for $500,000.

Dawson also took time out of his busy schedule to not weigh in on the steroids issue:

Much has been written about how Dawson may have benefited from a voter backlash against players who came from the game's so-called "steroids era." Appearing today on "The Mully & Hanley Show" on WSCR-AM 670, Dawson declined to get involved in the debate, but did note that Major League Baseball has only itself to blame for the public's mistrust.

"This was something that probably could have been nipped in the bud very early on, but it wasn't, as you know, in the best interest of baseball, so this is something that has come back to really bite them in the rear end," Dawson said. "I did what I had to do to play and get 20 years under my belt. I look back on it and I wouldn't do it any other way. I didn't need (steroids) in my body; I was blessed and talented and I took advantage of that."

Friendly reminder that Cubs Con is next weekend, and a bunch of us will be there running around and harassing players and management. In addition, LOHO is having a meetup on Friday night at Kitty O'Shea's (more info here), and, in addition to doing a special podcast with Alex Quigley live from Cubs Con, Matt and I will (hopefully) be doing a Special LOHO podcast from Cubs Con. More details on all of that throughout the week.

Hope to see many of you there! 

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35 Comments

AndCounting said:

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I'm glad Dawson pointed the finger at baseball. The steroids issue really isn't much different than the collusion problem that came before it and cost Dawson and other players millions of dollars. Granted, it probably saved fans millions of dollars as well, but the idea that the owners would have put an end to PED use if they had only known about it--because that's the right thing to do--is just laughable.

JulieDiCaro said:

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I don't think anyone is saying the owners would have put a stop to it. At the same time, the players are adults and, like all of us, should be expected not to cheat to get ahead in their jobs.

AndCounting said:

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A. The owners are definitely saying that. B. I expect adults to cheat at their jobs.

MB21 said:

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That's true, Julie, but what do we say about these players who sat by with their mouths shut? They were as much a part of the problem as the ones who used.

that the biggest issue I have. If the players really cared about steroids, this issue would have been dealt with quickly back in the mid to late 80s. But they didn't and still don't care. Dawson didn't speak up as a player. Neither did Sandberg. However, once it's beneficial for them to do so, they do.

AndCounting is right. We should expect adults to cheat at their jobs. We all do it. Sometimes it's just cutting a little corner. And since adults have been cheating at sports since before the first Olympics more than 2000 years ago, I think it's safe to say that adults will continue to cheat 2000 years from now.

The fans have voted that the steroids era was as unethical as John McGraw grabbing the belts of players to keep them from advancing to home, Amos Otis admitting he put cork and super balls into this bat throughout his career, the grounds crew slamming the shack door shut when a fair ball rolled into the shack so the fielders couldn't get the ball, the superintendent of the Metrodome changing the wind direction to favor Twins hitter in the 1980s, Ted Kluszewski pounding nails into his bat to help him hit the ball farther, the Giants watering down the area around first base before games against the Dodgers so Maury Wills couldn't steal 2nd base and Leo Durocher breaking the jaw of a fan who called him crooked. The steroids era falls in between.

That's important because it shows us that the fans just don't care. This is a media issue at this point.

By the way, Durocher wasn't suspended by the league. That's how it should be. If some fan says something to a player the player has every right to retaliate. It's then in the hands of the law, but the league has no business telling a player who had just had beer thrown on him that he can't kick the shit out the fan who did it. The fan who called Durocher a crook was kicked out of the ballpark. It's interesting how much the game has changed in favor of the fans over time. It never used to be that way even though people say it was.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Maddog, I know and respect your opinion on this. We'll just have to agree to disagree. As any attorney, there are certain ethical lines I just can't cross, and I would hope other adult professionals feel the same, no matter their job.

Perkins said:

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The consequences of cheating or cutting corners are also a lot worse for lawyers (or their clients) than is true for other professions.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Not really. There are plenty of arbitrary rules that I could break every day, and no one would be any the wiser. They really wouldn't even give me or my client an advantage--they'd just be more. . . convenient, I guess. But I feel like I have an obligation to do things the right way or I should have chose another profession.

I guess I'm naive on this point.

Perkins said:

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I prefer to think of it as "not yet disillusioned." My wife is the same way, and it's something I admire.

I'm just much more cynical and pessimistic about the human species, I guess.

AndCounting said:

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I think it's appropriate to hope for that, but not to expect it. Plenty of adults have no objection whatsoever in crossing ethical or even legal lines. That's why you have rules and oversight committees and what not. Some people will do the right thing as a matter of principle. Others will do the right thing because they know someone's watching.

That's why I blame the owners more than the players. The owners have a responsibility to govern their own game. They're selling a product of competition, so it's their responsibility to ensure the rules are enforced. They didn't do that with steroids because it was profitable.

I do blame the players for cheating, but I tend to accept it as part of the game, almost like bluffing in poker or flopping in basketball or soccer. If it's accepted (or even tacitly endorsed, as in the case of steroids) by the competitors and the overseers, it's not so much a question of ethics as it is of skill, competitiveness, and vigilance.

I don't really blame players for not speaking out against steroids because of the difficulty of the situation. Do you publicly call out your team members or the opposition for cheating? I don't know, there's all kinds of professional risk involved.

The people I blame most, though, are the journalists. I think baseball writers as a group looked the other way and ignored the essential nature of their jobs by not investigating or reporting what was going on. They just didn't do their jobs and got fat off the renewed interest in homer-happy baseball.

Perkins said:

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Agreed on pretty much all counts, though I think players who said nothing about steroids while playing should kindly shut the fuck up now, when they no longer stand to lose anything.

AndCounting said:

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Yeah, that's fair. I still think they can express admiration for other players who didn't use or at least speak to their own abstinence without specifically calling out those who juiced. I can't see anything wrong with Dawson saying, I didn't use steroids; I didn't need to.

Perkins said:

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Yeah, it's not like he pulled a Sandberg.

MB21 said:

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I think there are ethical lines that most people won't cross in professions that are meaningful. I think that's the difference here. Being an attorney is a significantly different job than being an athlete. Your job has meaning beyond entertainment. There's real value in what you do as opposed to playing baseball.

I don't think it's fair to compare your profession to that of baseball player's. The jobs are entirely different. I'd expect you to be ethical, or at least much more ethical than some ballplayer just as I expect an attorney at his or her job to be more ethical than some guy in a bar playing pool for money.

I feel this is too often ignored. Being a baseball player is about winning and having fun. There's no real value to the public in baseball. I'll get nothing out of it as it offers nothing more than entertainment. There's less of a reason for them to play by the so-called rules when breaking those rules has no real punishment. If you break the rules you can go to jail. When Jake Peavy, Carlos Zambrano and other pitchers rub stuff on baseballs or spit on them, they aren't going to jail for it. Pete Rose nearly killed a catcher trying to score and fans consider that ethical even though the ballplayers do not. I think it's important we acknowledge, as fans, that what we consider ethical is meaningless because the profession itself sets those standards (not you and I). Think about the fans who love it when a guy running full speed tries to take out a player at a base. Fans love it, but nothing in baseball could be more unethical. That's why such collisions lead to bench clearing brawls. the players consider doing that unethical.

That's what is important. the players consider yelling at infielder trying to catch a popup to be unethical. Fans think it's funny. Players consider coming too far inside to be unethical. Fans think it's a necessary part of the game. But you know what? How many players have stood up against steroids while they were active? 2? 3? How many have stood up against infielders tricking baserunners? Hundreds?

MLB is clearly policing what they think is unethical. And since baseball is a stupid, meaningless sport only meant to entertain, I'm willing to let them police it themselves. I just think it's interesting what the players consider unethical are often the same things the fans think are necessary. There's an obvious disconnect between the players (the game) and the fans. I just think it's important to recognize that. What you consider unethical may not be unethical. It may be against the law. it is. MLB should hand every positive test over to the authorities and let them deal with it. That would be very easy to do too. If the fans who are so upset about PEDs in baseball make it known they care more about the illegal activity than the records being broken, these positive tests will have to be turned over to the authorities. I'd support that. I don't think these guys should get away with breaking the law. I just couldn't care less about breaking the rules in some silly game that's known for its cheating.

secdelahc said:

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(raises hand) I love the Hawk!

JulieDiCaro said:

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Okay, so I asked for a Snuggie for Xmas as a joke, but I have to admit, I LOVE my IU Snuggie. It is so warm. It is so red. It is so Hoosierish.

secdelahc said:

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I am excited that I remembered to bring my fleece Cubs blanket to curl up with at school. It's also very warm!

Doc said:

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That is so wrong on so many levels.

JulieDiCaro said:

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No it's not. It's right.

So very right.

Doc said:

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I'm not sure I like the cutesy little arrows next to the replies.

Little Bear said:

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I do, they are cute.

Kurt Evans said:

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Speaking of Dawson and Bradley, I wrote an article comparing the two over at GROTA. Forgive me for the cheap plug, Julie.

http://www.goatriders.org/a-tale-of-two-hitters

JulieDiCaro said:

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Don't worry, there are plenty of other people I have to kill for cheap plugs before I get to you.

Doc said:

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That's why I can't sleep at night.

Kurt Evans said:

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Appreciated. I wouldn't have, but I'm probably more proud of that article than of anything I've written in the last couple of years (which may be a sad statement, if you think it's a crappy article)

JulieDiCaro said:

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We are always happy to be directed to good articles, no matter who wrote them/posted them. If I'd seen it earlier, I would have included it in the headlines this morning. :)

Aisle424 said:

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I'll add that it is a very good post. Well done, Kurt.

LostinFla said:

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I love the Hawk, especially since I was in Chicago during some of the years he played for the Cubs, and I congratulate him on his election to the Baseball HOF, but I admit to first thinking that if he had to go in with only one cap, it should be the Expos.

Looking at his career stats though, I now feel more comfortable with him choosing a Cub cap, assuming he even gets such a choice. If the Expos still existed, I would still call it for them, but I was surprised to our memories of Dawson's great Expo years is because of a 4 yr run between 1980-83, true HOF numbers given the era. Dawson, however, had 1 great (87) and 2 very good years (88,90) for the Cubs as well and was durable for the Cubs (except for an injury-marred 89) over the 6 seasons he played for them.
If only he could have done ANYTHING for the Cubs in the 89 playoffs. Sigh...

Interesting factoid about Dawson's MVP year with the Cubs. He hit for prodigious power, obviously, but it also obvious, looking at the stats, he WAS swinging for the fences. 1987 marked the only time after age 24, before his great run with the Expos began, that Hawk K'd more than 100 times in a season and his K/BB rate (for a guy who truly wasn't a big OBP guy anyway) was one of the lowest in his career.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Looking for something to do in the city tonight? My friend Mary's band is playing at Schuba's--come on out and see them!

David Funk said:

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It is indeed about time Dawson got in the Hall of Fame. I vividly remember that wild 1987 season for him. How can any Cubs fan forget the "Eric Show game"? I never seen a player that scared in his life like Show was of Dawson after hitting him in the face with a ball.

BTW, my friend cashewredneck from Twitter directed me here. He and I went to high school together in North Carolina.

Nice site you have here.

JulieDiCaro said:

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LOL!!!! Eric Show!

Thanks! @cashewredneck is one of my very favorite tweeters, which is funny, because I think we met each other by fighting over milton bradley. lol.

David Funk said:

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Yeah, I wish they had that game on Youtube. Ironically, the only SI cover he made that entire 1987 season was showing him getting hit in the face with that Show pitch. LOL! Good thing Dawson recovered quickly from that to have that MVP season.

I still remember his second and final ejection as a Cub from a game in 1991 when Hawk threw just about every bat out of the Cubs dugout onto the field before leaving. Of course I remember more of the positive moments including when he hit for the cycle as well as hitting a home run in his last game as a Cub.

Yeah, cashewredneck is a funny guy.

I'm following you on Twitter. My ID is @davidfunk74 in case you want to know.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Now I'm following you back. :)

okoboji said:

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Andre was & is a class act. My hand is raised for Hawk!

Perkins said:

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This isn't to say Dawson doesn't belong in the HoF...if Jim Rice gets in, Dawson should as well. But to say he should be in there wearing a Cubs cap is absolutely laughable.

In Dawson's 1987 MVP season, he was worth 2.7 WAR. To put that into perspective, Derrek Lee was worth 4.7 WAR in 2009 (per Sean Smith, not per fangraphs). Dawson's MVP season was likely the least valuable season ever from someone named the league's MVP.

From 1977 to 1983, as an Expo, Dawson posted WAR of 3.3, 4.2, 3.2, 6.7, 7.3, 6.8, and 6.6. While with the Cubs, he posted a WAR above 3 in only a single season (1988). There's absolutely no comparison. The only reason he might go in wearing a Cubs cap is either that he wants to and the powers that be entertain that wish, or that said powers don't want him wearing the cap of a team that no longer exists.

Aisle424 said:

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Or that the people making the decision don't take WAR into account. His traditional AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS and OPS+ lines are higher across the board as a Cub. He became nationally relevant as a Cub.

I agree that he should probably go in as an Expo, but there is an argument to made for the Cubs, especially since that is what Dawson wants.

If this was clear cut, we would have a decision by now. My guess is that the HOF is trying to get Andre to be OK with them choosing the Expos.

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