Andre “The Hawk” Dawson Shouldn’t Have To Wear The Cap Of A Franchise That Doesn’t Exist Anymore

Andre “The Hawk” Dawson Shouldn’t Have To Wear The Cap Of A Franchise That Doesn’t Exist Anymore

When former MLB slugger Andre “The Hawk” Dawson entered baseball lore and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, he wanted the cap on his plaque to reflect the team he holds most dear to his heart, the legendary Chicago Cubs. Baseball had other ideas and put him in a Montreal Expos cap. 

 

The eight-time All-Star and 1987 NL MVP has been attempting to make the change since the announcement was made that he had earned his call to the Hall. Now, 13 years later the former MLB great still wants to have the cap on his plaque changed.

 

 

On Monday, Dawson who did the bulk of his damage while in an Expos uniform told reporters at the Chicago Tribune that he sent a letter ….

 

“I don’t expect them to jump on something like this,” Dawson said at the time. “If they elect to respond they’ll take their time. And it wouldn’t surprise me it they don’t respond.”

 

The Hall responded saying …

 

“We plan to speak to Andre but have not yet received the letter.”

 

Prior to the 2002 season players who were elected for the Baseball Hall of Fame were permitted to choose which team they wanted to go in under, and since Dawson’s induction came nine years later, he wasn’t afforded that opportunity. It’s now been over a decade, and the powers that be haven’t even considered making the change.

 

 Dawson’s Best Years Were In Montreal

 

After being selected in the 11th round of the 1975 MLB Draft out of Florida A&M University, Dawson starred for the Expos from (1976-86) where he quickly established himself as one of the game’s best outfielders. The former slugger had 1,575 of his 2,774 hits in an Expos uniform. 225 of his 438 home runs came north of the border. Of his 1,591 RBI, 838 came in Montreal. He also won six of his eight gold gloves in Montreal, while leading the franchise to its only playoff series win in 1981.

 

Andre Dawson Classic Continues To Be A Conduit Of Diversity & Inspiration For Black Baseball Explosion

 

So, if we’re talking impact, and that’s the main criteria, Dawson going as an Expo is a bit of a no-brainer.

That’s exactly what the Hall reiterated to Dawson at the time of the decision in 2010 with this statement: 

 

“You want the logo to represent where this guy made his greatest impact. He was impactful in Montreal. He was impactful in Chicago, and to a much lesser extent Boston and Florida, it’s more of a case of siting down and collectively making a decision.”

 

To this day, and against his wishes, the decision is being made for Dawson by the Hall. That’s why he’s still lobbying to be heard.

 

Andre Dawson Had MVP Season With Chicago Cubs 

 

In Hawk’s defense, he did enjoy his best professional season with the Cubs in 1987, winning his lone MVP award. He posted a .287 batting average with 49 home runs and 137 RBI. Yes, impactful, but not anywhere near the accumulation of feats he delivered during his 10-years in the Expos organization.

 

 

Dawson Is The First Player To Request Cap Change On Plaque

 

No other player has lobbied to have their cap on their Cooperstown plaque changed since that decision was taken out of the player’s hands in 2001. While, Dawson is attempting to change that, it’s highly unlikely he’s successful in doing so.

Dawson wanted to go into Cooperstown associated with one of baseball’s flagship franchises. The fact that the Expos are no longer in Montreal and have since become the Washington Nationals also further buries him in history. Baseball probably doesn’t want to open up a can of worms and have to deal with players wanting to change the teams on their plaques as well. So, while Dawson has a case, it probably won’t be heard. 

HBCU Swingman Classic Gives Black College Players A Showcase	In Seattle | Celebrating Old & New Legends Of Black Baseball

HBCU Swingman Classic Gives Black College Players A Showcase In Seattle | Celebrating Old & New Legends Of Black Baseball

Historically Black Colleges and Universities [HBCUs] have become more than just a sanctuary for Black collegiate student-athletes.  It now appears that Major League Baseball is ready to visit those athletic programs for players who have been previously overlooked. 

 

 

HBCU Swingman Classic & Ken Griffey Jr. 

 

The first HBCU Swingman Classic on July 7, will feature 50 HBCU Players during MLB All-Star Week’s first pitch in Seattle with Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. as its catalyst. MLB’s Reviving Baseball in the Inner Cities (RBI) program has also produced several Black American Major Leaguers – including former pitcher C.C. Sabathia and current Seattle Mariners shortstop J.P. Crawford.  However, this will be the first time that MLB has literally put its money where its mouth is to give aspiring talent from HBCUs their own all-star showcase.

 

“I could never fathom this happening,” said former Southern University’s legendary coach and College Baseball Hall of Famer Roger Cador.  “I had been working with [MLB Chief Baseball Development Officer] Tony Reagins and we had been trying to do something like this for the last three years.”

 

“But it wasn’t until Ken Griffey, Jr. along with [MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred] came along and gave their support that the idea became reality and it’s something that will be around for years to come”.

 

Griffey-Backed Swingman Classic Becoming Gateway For HBCUs

 

 

MLB appears to understand there is something unsettling about the dwindling numbers of Black American players as the game continues importing most of the new generation of stars from the Dominican Republic and Asia.

 

However, some of the greatest Black Knights in the history of baseball have ties to HBCUs. For example: Larry Doby, who played at Virginia Union University, was MLB’s second Black American player with the Cleveland franchise debuting 11 weeks after Jackie Robinson.  

 

MLB Has HBCU Roots 

 

St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Famer Lou Brock – a multiple world champion and one time MLB all-time stolen base leader – is a graduate of Southern University.  Joe Black, the 1952 National League Rookie of the Year with the Brooklyn Dodgers, graduated from Morgan State. The 1969 World Series MVP Donn Clendenon from the “Amazin’ New York Mets is a Morehouse man.  Vince Coleman, Marquis Grissom, and Andre Dawson would be statistically one of the greatest outfield combinations of all-time and they all played at Florida A&M. 

 

 

HBCU Players In MLB Draft? 

Texas Southern junior outfielder Johnathon Thomas was the first HBCU baseball player taken in the 2022 MLB First-Year Player Draft.  He was selected in the 19th round with the 561st overall pick by the Washington Nationals. Those who follow the prospects in their organization feel that with the talent pool of outfielders already there he faces a difficult battle trying to make the show.

Nonetheless, this is one of the showcases giving HBCU baseball programs a stage to evaluate prospects with support from MLB. In addition to being a platform for MLB scouts, the game’s most valuable player will earn a name, image, and likeness (NIL) deal from T-Mobile to immediately enter the new world order of capitalizing on marketing and commercial advertising deals.

 

“I don’t know if we’ll get the type of players we once did, ” Cador said.  

 

“But I’m thinking with this All Star Game and the NIL money we may be able to make up some ground on bringing mid-level players back to Black colleges.”

 

Cador is to HBCU baseball what the late Eddie Robinson was to Black College football at Grambling.  He took a non-existent program and won 14 Southwestern Athletic Conference and two HBCU National championships in 17 seasons. Cador also had 62 players drafted and 11 All-Americans including 2003 Golden Spikes Awards winner Rickie Weeks who was the second pick in that year’s MLB Draft. Weeks played 14 years with the Milwaukee Brewers, Seattle Mariners, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Tampa Bay Rays.

 

 

Earlier this year, the Black College World Series was played in Montgomery, Alabama featuring HBCU players from NAIA and NCAA Division II Schools that was scouted by Major League Baseball clubs also. However, that was a survive and advance series with a championship in the balance. 

 

Andre Dawson Classic Continues To Be A Conduit Of Diversity & Inspiration For Black Baseball Explosion

 

It’s one of several efforts, including the Andrew Dawson Classic, being played that give Black college players an unprecedented stage to display their skills before scouts and talent evaluators.

Florida Memorial (22-24) beat Albany State (39-11) 5-4 in a 19-inning championship game at Riverwalk Park – home of the Class AA Montgomery Biscuits – who are an affiliate of the Tampa Rays.

As a sobering reminder of the plight facing Black American players on MLB rosters today, the 2022 World Series marked the first time since 1950 that didn’t feature any U.S. born Black players which was just three years after Jackie Robinson broke the game’s color barrier.

 

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