By Devon POV Mason| Contributor
Andre “The Hawk” Dawson AKA “Awesome Dawson” finished his inaugural MLB season by winning the Rookie of the Year Award in 1977.
He followed that up with a solid second season in 1978 where he hit 25 home runs and stole 28 bases.
Dawson was one of the first players to receive a Topps trading card contract in 1979, and he finished that season in the NL top ten in total bases, runs batted in, leading to a career that saw “The Hawk” tally more than 400 homers and 1500 runs batted in, on his way to a Hall of Fame career.
Dawson played the first seven seasons of the 1980s with the expansion Expos and the final three of the decade with the Chicago Cubs, who were in rebuild mode and bottom feeders in the league.
The lone bright spot in Chicago was Dawson, whose prolific bat gave Cubs fans a reason to pile into the confines of Wrigley Field back when they only had day games.
By the end of the decade, he had tallied 290 homers, 895 RBI and .128 OPS+. The decade saw him earn Gold Glove Awards, 6 All-Star Appearances, four Silver Sluggers, and an MVP Award. making Dawson easily one of the most productive hitters and multi-tooled standouts of the 1980s.
Before the start of the 1982 season, Andre Dawson received his check from the Major League Baseball Players Association for the sum of $2,527.
At the time a nice piece of change for the then 27-year old outfielder. The check had the stamped signature of Marvin Miller, who happened to be the Executive Director of the MLBPA.
With Dawson’s signature on the reverse side, Dawson took his check to the bank and requested $1,300.00 in cash and a cashier’s check for the remaining balance.
“The Hawk” used this method of money management for the rest of his MLB career.
That 1982 season for Dawson was one to remember as he was an All-Star, and Gold Glove winner. In his 11 seasons in Montreal, Dawson totaled 225 homers and 838 RBIs for the Expos. His peak years were 1980-83.
In those four seasons, he amassed a (29 WAR – Wins Above Replacement). His OPS+ was an astounding 140, putting him on the fast track to Cooperstown.
“The Hawk” had a long productive career. He hit 20 or more homers in 13 seasons and 30 or more in three seasons.
His career-high of 49 came in 1987, his MVP year. As his 21-year career came to a close, Dawson climbed the all-time lists as an unforgettable Black Knight of baseball.
Seven seasons after what was thought to be his peak performance, an old Dawson with football knees, was still at it. On June 25, 1994, as the Red Sox DH, he went out and had a career day amassing 10 total bases. He went (4-7) with two homers, two doubles and 6 RBI.
The second moonshot gave him 426 in his career, tying him with the sweet-swinging Hall of Famer and legendary MLBbro, Billy Williams.
He hit his 400th homer in April of 1993.
Known for his poise and quiet class, Dawson was beloved by teammates in Montreal, Chicago, Boston and Florida.
In retirement “The Hawk” has been a well-respected longtime funeral director in Florida.
MLB has also named its annual HBCU baseball showcase the “Andre Dawson Classic” after the soul patroller who played for Florida A&M University. Formerly known as the “Urban Invitational”, this annual collegiate baseball tournament was launched in 2008 by MLB to highlight Historically Black Colleges and Universities and their programs.
Dawson is one of only two HBCU Baseball alumni enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, joining Lou Brock, an alumnus of Southern University.