April 15, 2011
Friday 5: Andre Dawson
The 1987 National League Most Valuable Player played 21 seasons with the Montreal Expos, Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox and, finally, his current employer, the Florida Marlins.
Thursday night, I was part of a media consortium that had a chance to catch up with the Hall of Famer…here’s the meatiest of what he told us.
MEDIA: Who do you consider baseball’s home run king?
DAWSON: Well, Barry (Bonds) did what he did (but) the record probably is tainted as a result of the steroid scandal. Hank Aaron was a guy that I idolized growing up because his journey to get to where he was and how he accomplished what he did. To me, he’ll always be the all-time home run king.
MEDIA: Should the steroid tainted players be allowed in the Hall?
DAWSON: I’m glad that the writers have really taken a stance on how they’re going to judge this. And from the look of things…it doesn’t look pretty. It’s hurt a lot of players who probably do a lot better throughout the voting process. They’ve been overlooked and pretty much cast aside and that was all a result of the era where the numbers really took off. Personally, I think that somewhere down the road they might be given better consideration, but they’re going to have to suffer the consequences and that’s probably going to be not being allowed in the Hall of Fame anytime soon.
MEDIA: What are your thoughts on wearing the Expos cap in the Hall of Fame versus a Cubs cap?
DAWSON: It wasn’t my choice or preference, but I respect the decision of the Hall and them being more concerned about the history of the game. I felt (playing in Chicago) is what put me in that particular status of being Hall-worthy and I respect their decision. But I will always, in my opinion, be looked at as a Cub.
MEDIA: Are there any plans that you know of to put Number 8 up on the foul poles at Wrigley Field?
DAWSON: You’d have to talk to the people in charge. (Laughs) I have no knowledge of that one.
MEDIA: If you had to pay to see a ballplayer…which one would you pay to see today?
DAWSON: I’ve always been a big fan of Albert Pujols for his character and the way he handles himself both on and off the field. There’s some talented players throughout baseball and some good young players in the game also. There’s a kid down in Florida who, barring injury, will do some phenomenal things named Mike Stanton. He can hit a baseball as far as anyone in the game and is only 21-years-old. I like him because of his make up…he’s young, has his head on the right place, is a student of the game and is what you’d want in a young ballplayer coming up.
Following the media “press conference”, Dawson and I talked more about the Hall of Fame, Ryne Sandberg’s public endorsement, and how he thinks he should’ve won two other MVP awards while playing in Montreal.
But, in all fairness to “The Hawk”, I didn’t really feel like I could just throw my recorder in his face and, while just shooting the bull, record him.
Lastly, a big thanks to Karen Tilly and her group over at Rockford MELD for making Thursday night’s event possible. Two years ago, I had the chance to talk with Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins, so…here’s to another great guest in the future!