Andre Dawson

A Hawk Sighting

by Darrel Rade

According to a number of reliable and trusted sources, the Chicago Cubs will be seeing a familiar face back in uniform. It appears that Andre Dawson will be back on the Cubs payroll for the upcoming season, which is thrilling news for fans. The Hall of Famer has been working with the Marlins for the past few seasons as a special assistant. Dawson was fired from the Marlins and that decision was quickly rescinded. However, Dawson has made bigger and better plans and will be coming back to join the Cubs.

Knee High to the Hall of Fame

"Andre Dawson, the Hawk...no player in baseball history worked harder, suffered more or did it better than Andre Dawson. He's the best I've ever seen. The Hawk, I watched him win an MVP for a last place team in 1987. 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. I hope he will stand up here one day."

                          --Ryne Sandberg, in his Hall of Fame Induction Speech


No matter what hat his hall of fame plaque has, will represent the Cubs honorably into Baseball's Shrine. This is a man who overcame his own obstacles, or more specifically his own knees. We all know that Dawson came to the Cubs in 1987 to flee the hard artificial turf of Montreal Olympic Stadium which was playing havoc with his knees.

might have never made it to Chicago, where he said he rejuvenated his career, were it not for the encouragement of his wife, Vanessa. Dawson was in so much pain in his fourth big league season because of a “fractured knee” that he told her he didn’t know if he could play any longer. Pain medication was barely getting him through games.

“The third (Darvocet) took the pain away but it came back at night. That’s why I didn’t want to do it anymore,” Dawson said. “And she looked at me and said, `You know you’re hurting now, but just see what the problem is because a year, two years from now you are going to regret walking away.”’

The last 10 years of his career (including 6 with the Cubs) were based in home parks where right field had mother natures own soft grass turf. This prolonged his career well beyond what most of his could have projected.

In 1985, then-Expos teammate Tim Wallach said of Dawson's perpetual struggles with his knees, "It hurts me as much as it hurts him. Sometimes I wish I could give him my knees. He never moans. He never complains. He has no excuses. Everyone here respects him."

Most watched in awe at the agony he put up with but few knew why Dawson had to methodically prepare for games and baseball seasons. He made it onto the field for .

Rice, Andre, and My Retroactive Hall of Fame Predictions

Rob invited us to pitch in with our Hall of Fame predictions on Sunday night, but I didn't have a chance to reply until now. Here goes:

I predict somewhere around 511 votes, Jim Rice will finally get in the Hall with, oh, I'll say 76.4% of the vote, and two clowns will even cast ballots for .