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Andre Dawson is about to make some money

Jan 10, 2010, 3:08 PM EDT

We talked about this some last summer, but Bill Madden of the Daily News reminds us today that the Hall of Fame debates which raged before and after last Wednesday’s announcement — and which will rage every year forever more, it seems — have to do with a hell of a lot more than history and honor:

His value just increased threefold and he can count on making millions in autograph signings for the rest of his life . . . If he hasn’t already, Dawson will quickly find out from his fellow Hall
of Famers how the road to Cooperstown intersects with Easy Street. For
example: Goose Gossage went from getting $3,000 an appearance as a perennial also-ran on the
Hall of Fame ballot to $25,000 an appearance after he was elected, as
his autograph increased from $10 to $50.

Madden quotes that baseball card guy “Mr. Mint” as saying that the election could mean a million bucks to Dawson’s bottom line. As the Wall Street Journal reported last July, even dead guys can make bank on this sort of thing, as the heirs of Shoeless Joe Jackson could see as much as $500K a year in marketing opportunities if and when he’s ever inducted. Presumably that won’t involve any appearance fees at card shows, because that would be kind of gross.

Madden suggests that this Hall of Fame loot could be one reason why Tony La Russa hinted that he might activate Mark McGwire, thereby extending his Hall of Fame clock and allowing him to cash in one day. Given that McGwire made $75 million in salary alone as a ballplayer, I’m guessing this little Hall of Fame bump wouldn’t be a big motivator.

But it’s a little more easy to see the motivation of a Bert Blyleven or a Dave Parker or other guys of that vintage, who made a fraction of that over the course of their careers. Yes, I’m sure they want the honor and the glory most of all, but the next time you hear lobbying on their behalf — or from them directly, as we often do from Blyleven — let us not forget that more than mere acclaim comes with being inducted into the Hall of Fame.

  1. Old Gator - Jan 10, 2010 at 3:47 PM

    I’m always happy to see deserving guys make out well, but Blyleven doesn’t shoot me in the foot when he stands out there under that big flashing EAT HERE sign and hopes that someone will notice. A quiet humility underpinned by a smidgen of subtle mnemonic gestures once in a while will get him further than all his begging and pleading. I admire guys who let their numbers and their simple dignity do their campaigning for them. Hell, I was the one who suggested promoting Bartleby to Assistant Vice President.

  2. Ryan - Jan 10, 2010 at 4:00 PM

    So it’s another institutions whose evolution and improvement was based on their enshrinement indirectly increasing the wealth of its members. On another topic, nice to see you and Gator are working on a Sunday, that’s dedication folks. Hope you guys are drinking beer and watching football like me. yay.

  3. Old Gator - Jan 10, 2010 at 10:37 PM

    I’m drinking acai elixir and watching football. I have an empathy problem, and every time one of these guys gets crushed, I imagine what the hit felt like. Acai is full of antioxidants, polyphenols and anti-inflammatory enzymes (it won’t work on inflammatory rhetoric, unfortunately, or I’d pour it over the TV set every time it’s set on Fox News), so I feel better almost immediately.
    Unfortunately, my acai palm seedlings out back look like they’re shocking out because of this unnatural cold spell. Fortunately, they’re not nearly tall enough for me to be brained by torpid iguanas falling out of them.
    Boy, was that Green Bay game phenomenal. Great last quarter, classic star-crossed OT. Pity to waste a game like that on a domed stadium.

  4. cc - Jan 11, 2010 at 9:27 AM

    Old Gator, did you just drop a Melville reference?

  5. Ross - Jan 11, 2010 at 1:01 PM

    Yes. Yes he did.

  6. Old Gator - Jan 11, 2010 at 10:04 PM

    Trouble with Melville references is that they often bounce off one of the brickpiles from the tryworks and roll off the deck. I’ll try to drop the next one into a pile of rigging. Meanwhile, I invoked Bartleby in another thread someplace. And of course, I’ve invoked Blood Meridian numerous times and will continue to do so until everyone has read it; when you refer to that one, you always reference Melville whether you want to or not. Derrida called that dissemination, but that’s just because he was an Algerian French wannabe.

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