Tag: Andre Dawson

Derrek Lee and the Chicago Cubs Top 10 Adopted Sons of All Time

Late last month, in Cooperstown, New York, Andre Dawson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame as a Montreal Expo. This was much to Andre’s chagrin, as he’d hoped to go into the Hall of Fame as a Chicago Cub.

You see, Andre spent 11 of his 21 seasons playing for the Expos. He won the Rookie of the Year for the team in 1977, and won six of his eight Gold Gloves in Montreal. Most of his best years and his career stats were accumulated in Montreal.

Nevertheless, as Andre told us on that beautiful day last month, it was the Chicago Cubs fans who reminded him why he loved to play the game of baseball. Andre said that playing in front of the Cubs fans was an experience he’d never forget, and that the people of Chicago truly reminded him that, as Andre said it best, “if you love this game, it will love you back.”

Derrek Lee is no longer a Chicago Cubs today; the newest former Cubs star has been traded to the Atlanta Braves for what Cubs fans hope will be the Cubs stars of tomorrow.

In the ironies of ironies, the Braves will be playing at the Cubs this weekend. You can bet that when Lee steps to the plate, he will be showered with the adoration that Cubs fans heap upon their adopted sons, the players who didn’t necessarily get their start in Chicago but who showed the Cubs a good time, and to whom the Cubs are forever grateful.

Here’s a look at the top ten adopted sons (i.e., players who didn’t start their career in Chicago) in Chicago Cubs history.

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Ryne Sandberg: The Next Chicago Cubs Hope?

Not long after Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella announced his plans to retire at the end of the season, former Cub, and current Hall of Famer, Ryne Sandberg decided to throw his name in the list of potential candidates to replace Piniella next season.

But does Sandberg really know what he’s getting himself into?

The pressure of the Cubs winning a World Series has built up like a nasty rumor at the workplace, and Sandberg hopes he can be the man to clean it all up.

Sandberg’s decision to be considered for the job is no surprise, and if he were to get the job, he would be following a couple of respectable managers who failed to accomplish the ultimate MLB goal.

Dusty Baker had the Cubs only five outs away from reaching the World Series. But Cubs’ fans know how that season ended.

It’s no wonder that Lou Piniella has aged like Robin Williams in the movie “Jack” over his four seasons with the Cubs.

Don’t get me wrong, I like “Sweet Lou.” He’s led the Cubs to three winning seasons with a possible, but unlikely, chance to finish over .500 this season. He has also taken the Cubs to the postseason twice in that span, only to see the entire team go cold like a frozen margarita in both appearances.

When Piniella is done at the end of the season, his relationship with Cubs’ fans will be similar to that of Baker’s. You know, that relationship that didn’t work out but you promise each other you’ll still remain “good friends,” when in reality you grimace at the thought of showing up at the same pizza parlor as that person. Oh well, we’ll always have the memories.

Not that Sandberg has much to worry about, but if you screw up with the Cubs, you’re likely to get shun from the city altogether. Just ask Milton Bradley. Heck, you don’t even have to be a member of the organization to get exiled from Chicago. Sorry Steve Bartman.

But Sandberg may be just what the Cubs need. He’s played in Chicago and he knows what kind of pressure comes along with winning in the organization.

In the 80’s and 90’s, Sandberg was “the man” for the Northsiders. This was back in the good ole’ days when the Cubs had Andre “The Hawk” Dawson, a young Mark Grace, and, who were all of those good pitchers the Cubs had back then?

Sandberg worked as a coach under managers Don Baylor and Dusty Baker for several years before managing the Cubs’ minor league affiliates for the past four years.

He is currently managing the triple-A Iowa Cubs to a first place season, where he has taught and developed several young, up-and-coming players looking to make a splash at the big league level.

In a time when the Cubs need to get back to the fundamentals, what better candidate than Sandberg, who had a career .989 fielding percentage, the major league record at second base.

So I say give Sandberg a shot. If he fails, he’ll be just another statistic on a long list of Cubs managers who couldn’t get the job done.

Sure there might be some failure along the way, but after 100 plus years of no championship and a disappointing season this year, what are a couple more down seasons to Cubs’ fans? The volcano has already erupted and Sandberg wants to sweep up the ashes.

Can you imagine? One of their own, a Cubbie favorite, rises like a phoenix from those ashes with the team grasped firmly to accomplish what seems almost impossible these days. If he succeeds, he’ll be a legend in Chicago forever. That’s probably an understatement.

After all, fairytale endings only come with some struggles along the way. Unfortunately for the Chicago Cubs, it’s a long book they’ve been writing.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Andre Dawson Obtains Hall Pass, Worthiness Is Answered

On this heartwarming day, as the raindrops fell softly before a beautiful rainbow glowed overhead at the baseball town known as Cooperstown, maybe it was the endearing, informal speech or maybe it was his posture when he took the podium humbled, hearing his name enshrined into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

There were times, of course, when Andre Dawson wasn’t expected of being acknowledged as a Hall of Famer, omitted by many populace devoted to the game of baseball. It’s a rhetorical understanding that he was always disregarded and had to wait nine elections anxiously for a hallowed moment, a chance to feel the intense gratification of having his name engraved at Cooperstown.

In his playing days, he was an endearing star and stood as an admired icon because of his singular exploits and humility as the finest slugger with the then-Montreal Expos during an accomplished era. In a sense, it worked in his favor, becoming merely the 203rd player in the game’s history inducted into the Hall.

“Thank you for welcoming this rookie to your team” said Dawson, who wore a Montreal uniform for 10 seasons before joining the Chicago Cubs as a free agent. “It’s an honor beyond words. I didn’t play this game with this goal in mind, but I’m living proof that if you love this game, the game will love you back. I am proof that any young person who can hear my voice right now can be standing here as I am.”

The words of inspiration alone, tells us he was worthy of an incredible award. So each year, the Baseball Writers Association ignored the purity and qualifications of Dawson, especially when it’s a game obsessed with numbers and milestones, a trait and symbolic feature recognized all over the baseball society. However, it was a different notion for the man who appeared in the All Star Game eight times, with 438 homers, 2,774 hits, 1,591 RBIs and 314 stolen bases in a remarkable, all while serving a 20-year tenure.              

Likewise, he acknowledged that the writers have the leverage in votes.

“You don’t hear any negativity about people in the Hall of Fame,” Dawson said. “How voting goes remains to be seen. You (writers) have always been the experts.”

What man gives credit to the writers? Not many players offers appreciation to writers, but more than anything, are critical of a writer’s stance and demeanor. When he arrived as a rookie in 1977, the hippie era including a phase most wore stylish afros, he was marked as a pseudo in the game and left us suspicious whether he was evidently a juicer at threshold of the Steroid Era.

Things have begun to elicit much questioning and skepticism in the caveat of the “dark side,” warning players about the latent repercussions of the usage of performance enhancing drugs. To this day, he does garner a sense that the game is on the brink of self-destruction and believes the infected era is slowly receding.

“There’s nothing wrong with the game of baseball,” said Dawson. “Baseball will, from time to time like anything else in life, fall victim to the mistakes that people make. It’s not pleasant and it’s not right. Individuals have chosen the wrong road, and they’re choosing that as their legacy. Those mistakes have hurt the game and taken a toll on all of us.

“Others still have a chance to choose theirs. Do not be lured to the dark side. “It’s a stain on the game, a stain gradually being removed.”

He slowly sauntered to the podium and microphone, maintaining open forum and absorbed the audience attention during his length speech, a touching moment that showed the classiness and humbleness of a deeply honored outfielder in his time. But unfortunately, Dawson’s numbers were trivial by the seductive home run surge of Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmerio and Sammy Sosa with the juiced era spoiling it for the innocent and spotless players.

For the first time since exiting the game, he was given an opportunity to be honored as a worthy player of the Hall and diluted an ascending legacy, a moment in his lifetime he was able to cherish as the Cubs and Expos fans roared and applauded a well-deserved athlete. On a pleasant afternoon, he was eulogized and cheered loudly by fans, accompanied by former manager Whitey Herzog, umpire Doug Harvey, broadcaster Jon Miller and sportswriter Bill Madden, who all shared the moment and were inducted into the Hall.

In what was a touching tribute, his mellifluous public speaking went a long ways, comprising of strong messages. In what was a sentimental ceremony, his eloquent words may have enlightened us. The cadence of his heartfelt, genuine speech was simply impressive, delivering a 15 to 20 minute acceptance message. With ailing knees, he stood tall and reflected on a painful career in which he endured 12 knee surgeries to mark a remarkable career.

“The initial impact was early as a result of high school football injury,” Dawson said. “The wear and tear over those 11 years, favoring that one particular knee, caused me to wear out the other knee. As it turned, I think I had eight surgeries by the time I was out of Montreal. I got to the point where I was more or less bone on bone.”

It’s never easy playing on a badly damaged knee that nearly forced Dawson to retire prematurely after his fourth season in the big leagues with the Expos before he returned to somehow write an extraordinary chapter and lasted 21 seasons in the majors. There were times, particularly following games, when he spent ample hours bathing and soaking his troubled knees, finding ways to heal career-threatening injuries.

And if there was one player who endured severe injuries, Dawson was a tough-minded outfielder with eight Gold Gloves, Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year awards. Anytime a player has become one of only three players in major-league history to finish with at least 400 home runs and 300 stolen bases, he’s worthy of the Hall of Fame. Lastly, he’s in the company of Barry Bonds and Willie Mays to reach such a plateau.

As for the worthy ones elected in the class of 2010, John Fogerty told the Hall of Famers. “You guys belong up here.”

Dawson certainly did.    

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB Hall of Fame Induction: Andre Dawson a “Natural” Hall of Famer

In a lot of ways, it has always been about the numbers in baseball. Fans, writers, and historians have long focused on the precious statistics in baseball, and there have been specific “standards” by which players are considered Hall of Fame material.

Well, all that’s a thing of the past, for now the numbers have been deflated by steroid-cheating needle pushers like Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro and especially Barry Bonds, who has obliterated the most precious of all records with his insidious ways.

Meanwhile, people can debate the merits of one Andre Nolan Dawson until they’re blue in the face and it won’t matter. The man’s a Hall of Famer now, and he’s worthy.

Look, he produced honest stats. He wasn’t all bulked up like A-Fraud. No sir, these were genuine accomplishments that were not made in a laboratory somewhere.

If anyone could have benefited from a little HGH to speed recovery time, it was The Hawk. His knees were like hamburger by the time he was 30.

Never mind that it took hours of preparation before and at least one hour after every game just so the man’s knees would stop barking long enough for him to play. That stuff didn’t matter, for he just loved the game.

Dawson didn’t look for the easy way out like a lot of athletes since then. The shortcuts taken to artificially inflate their bodies beyond the size of their egos was so absurd, it was beyond disgusting.

Andre Dawson would have none of that. He was a natural, true “five-tool” player who could hit, hit with power, run, play defense, and throw with the best of them.

While guys like Big Mac and Jose Canseco were bash-brothering their backsides with holes, Dawson was finishing up a career that rivaled the best.

Sure, his OBP was less than stellar, but only five other players have combined to hit more than 300 homers and 300 stolen bases in their career.

And only Bonds was younger when he accomplished the feat.

But those are mere numbers and that is not what this is about. Again, we’ve entered unchartered territory in baseball—3,000 hits, 3,000 strikeouts, and 500 homers just don’t have the same cache anymore.

You can blame guys like Bonds for that. He took baseball’s sacred records and made a mockery of them.

Which makes Dawson’s induction that much more worthy, in my opinion.


Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

2010 Baseball Hall of Fame: 10 Little-Known Truths about Andre Dawson

Sunday will mark the 81st year that inductions were held for the Baseball Hall of Fame, and 2010 will see Andre Dawson, manager Whitey Herzog, and umpire Doug Harvey eternally enshrined in Cooperstown.

Andre Dawson, nicknamed “The Hawk,” was known for his meticulous work ethic, positive attitude, and strong personal character both on and off the diamond.

His 1987 NL MVP Award, eight All-Star selections, eight Gold Glove Awards, and four Silver Slugger Awards are just several examples of his legendary accomplishments, which solidified him a spot in Cooperstown in his ninth year of eligibility.

Former teammate Ryne Sandberg described Dawson best during his own induction speech in 2005: “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 [with the Cubs], 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.”

The following slides illustrate ten rarely known truths about The Hawk that the average baseball fan may be surprised to read.

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Expos-ed: Andre Dawson and the 25 Greatest Montreal Expos

Andre Dawson’s induction into the Hall of Fame on Sunday will mark just the second time Cooperstown will honor the legacy of the Montreal Expos.

For a time in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the best organization in baseball resided north of the border; where Dawson, fellow Hall of Famer Gary Carter, Steve Rogers, Tim Raines and Warren Cromartie were the vanguard of a team that sprouted prospects and fielded competitive teams that spent many a September in the heart of the National League East pennant chase.

While the team fell a game short of the World Series in 1981, Montreal’s greatest team was the 1994 edition that bolted out to a 74-40 record before the strike delivered what would prove to be the death knell to the franchise’s existence in Canada.

Currently disguised as the Washington Nationals and featuring several players (Stephen Strasburg, Ryan Zimmerman) who may one day merit Cooperstown consideration, the club’s heart will always belong in Montreal, which is why we take the time to salute the 25 greatest players who donned the blue, red and white from 1969-2004.

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MLB Hall of Fame Induction: Who Deserves a Place in Cooperstown in 2010?

When Andre Dawson was announced as the sole member of the 2010 Baseball Hall of Fame class, it caused quite a stir, to say the least. After perhaps the most controversial balloting in recent memory, fans, and writers took to their keyboards to voice their frustrations.

How did Dawson, who played his last game in 1996, become more worthy of enshrinement in 2010 than he had been in 2009? Was one incident with an umpire enough to snub the legendary Roberto Alomar? Will Bert Blyleven ever catch a break?

Two days after the results were announced, I offered my solution to the problem: an end to secret ballots for Hall of Fame voting. I wanted to know why several deserving players were snubbed (especially Alomar, my childhood hero), while some idiot voters thought schmucks like David Segui and Eric Karros were worthy of sending to Cooperstown.

Thanks to Bleacher Report’s Featured Columnists (FC), my dream has been realized. This week’s poll was a mock Hall of Fame vote, with an participants who were happy to share (and explain) their opinions with the world.

The winner (we too elected only one player to Cooperstown, but it wasn’t Dawson) and the Top 10 also-rans are featured in this slideshow, each with two explanations from different FC’s: one from a voter who picked him, the other from someone who didn’t. The full vote totals are listed at the end.

As a reminder, players have to get 75 percent of the vote to earn a spot in Cooperstown—there’s no curve and you can’t round up.

With 22 people voting in this poll, a player had to be named on at least 17 ballots to earn immortality.

Thanks so much to everyone who participated! If you voted for someone who didn’t get enough support to be featured in the slideshow, I’d love to see your explanation in the comments.

Note: I sent this survey only to the Featured Columnists who have been active in previous polls. If you are a new FC or you have changed your mind about wanting to participate, send me a message and I’ll be sure to keep you in the loop for next time!

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Candidates for Cubs Managing Job: Who Would Fit Best?

With Lou Pinella announcing he will retire at the end of the Chicago Cubs season, all I hear is conjecture regarding who people think will be the Cubs’ next manager.

There are multiple candidates, but for now, it’s all speculation, and that’s all it’s going to be until it actually happens.

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The 49-Home Run Club: Guys Who Missed Immortality by One Swing

There are 25 players who have hit 50 or more home runs in a single season, and they have combined to accomplish the feat on 41 different occasions.

While hitting 50 home runs in a season is certainly more common now than it traditionally has been throughout baseball history, it is still a rare feat nonetheless.

But imagine for a moment being one of the 17 players who have hit 49 home runs in a season, like Andre Dawson, who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame next month.

If these guys had played 155 games instead of 154, or played one more game in a hitter-friendly park, or perhaps even batted one spot higher in the batting order that day they watched the game end from the on-deck circle, they would have joined the 50 Home Run Club.

Instead, they are forever linked to one another by the one swing of the bat that kept them from immortality.

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Top Five Chicago Cubs By Last Name: “D”

With such a rich and lengthy history, the Cubs have seen roughly 2,000 players don the Cubbie blue over the years.

Because of that, I thought it would be fun to name who I feel are the top five players for all 26 letters of the alphabet, going by last name.

To qualify, the player needs only to have played at least one game for the Cubs. However, only stats and accomplishments that took place while the player was with the Cubs will be considered.

Because of that, you will not find someone like Dizzy Dean on the following list, despite the fact that he is a Hall of Famer and did play four seasons with the Cubs.

I welcome suggestions regarding anyone I may have left off the list, and look forward to continuing the series in the coming weeks.

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