For a franchise that hasn’t won a World Series since 1908, the Chicago Cubs are bursting with pride after last week’s announcement that Andre Dawson was elected to the Hall of Fame.
Dawson played longer in Montreal (11 years), but enjoyed his National League MVP award in 1987 when he hit 49 home runs and drove in 137 on a last-place Cubs team. Whether the Hall of Fame committee decides to have Dawson depicted on his award plaque as an Expo or a Cub, there is no doubt that the Hawk will fondly recall his six seasons as a member of the Cubs.
Dawson’s only regret is that his late mother (Mattie Brown), who passed away four years ago, is not able share his shining moment.
“She always told me that (the Hall of Fame) was inevitable. Just be patient and keep the faith. That’s why it is so disheartening for me that she is not here to experience that, because I know how proud she would have been,” he said.
Dawson famously signed a blank free-agent contract with the Cubs during spring training of 1987. Cubs general manager Dallas Green filled in the contract with a modest $500,000 figure for the 1977 NL Rookie of the Year.
Dawson later told me: “If I had to do it all over again, I probably would do it the same way. It was just a matter, for me, of going somewhere that I knew I would enjoy the game and be a little more respected from a management standpoint. I couldn't have picked a better place. I always loved daytime baseball and I always enjoyed playing in Wrigley Field.”
For now, Dawson is enjoying the moment.
“It has really been overwhelming,” said Dawson. “Quite busy, actually, since I got the call. I was warned that it is going to be a wild ride. Just enjoy it and be ready for it, but it is not too bad.”