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Andre Dawson: ‘I didn’t play against more than a few Hall of Famers’

Jan 13, 2013, 7:20 PM EDT

Andre Dawson AP

Andre Dawson is pretty much the definition of a borderline Hall of Famer. He led his league in homers once and RBI once, both in 1987. He never led his league in average, on-base percentage or slugging percentage. He finished at .279/.323/.482 with 438 homers and 1,591 RBI in a career divided evenly between center field and right field.

Dawson, though, seems to think he’s inner-circle, though perhaps it doesn’t help that he’s being egged on by Barry Rozner in a Daily Herald interview.

“The thing is, I played a long time in the majors, and a couple more in the minors, and I didn’t play with that many Hall of Fame-caliber ballplayers,” Dawson said. “I didn’t play against more than a few Hall of Famers.”

Of course, any Hall of Fame selective enough to only elect a few of the best players over a 20-year span wouldn’t have Dawson for a member. It also probably wouldn’t be popular enough to draw crowds and stay in business.

But then, this interview is more about PEDs and what they did to poor Andre’s numbers.

“The guys who took steroids disrespected the game, and disrespected the history,” Dawson said. “Our history relies so much on the numbers, and the numbers have been destroyed.”

It’s an ironic argument coming from a guy who wouldn’t have made the Hall of Fame at all if not for the rabbit ball year of 1987. Dawson had his league-leading 49 homers and 137 RBI that year and won a undeserved MVP because of those numbers. He finished just 10th in the league in OPS despite being aided by Wrigley Field, and while Dawson began his career as a top-notch defensive center fielder, he had lost range and moved to right by 1987.

Maybe that’s not entirely fair — Dawson had nothing to do with the conditions of 1987 — but the fact is that Dawson averaged 22 homers and 81 RBI in the four years surrounding that season. Give him another one of those instead of his 49 and 137, and it’s doubtful the writers vote him in.

Still, this is really about drugs. Let’s go back to that.

“I’m mad about what they did to the game. I think of Hank (Aaron) and Willie (Mays) and Mickey (Mantle), it makes me really angry,” Dawson said. “We worked really, really hard to get to a certain level. They did it with drugs.”

Really, those are the three players you bring up? Two amphetamine abusers and a guy in Mantle who would have put pretty much anything into his body?

Maybe you should just crawl back into the ivy, Andre.

  1. jm91rs - Jan 14, 2013 at 8:59 AM

    I can’t wait for real baseball to start up so everyone (on both sides of this issue) can stop crying.

  2. unlost1 - Jan 14, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    amphetamines might help you concentrate more but they don’t bulk you up to hit 50 home runs

    • Jeremiah Graves - Jan 14, 2013 at 11:58 AM

      So you’re saying they enhance performance?

      Steroids might bulk you up, but they sure as hell won’t help you hit 50 home runs in the big leagues if you can’t already hit home runs in the big leagues. I could take literally ALL of the steroids and I’d be lucky to hit a ball to the warning track.

      • louhudson23 - Jan 14, 2013 at 12:16 PM

        But if you could get a ball up in the air….25 – 50 feet…makes a big difference. Acting as though this is some discussion on the basement steps is mystifying. We saw it. We lived it. We saw the damn balls fly out of the park. Lately we have seen it stop flying out of the park. Smell the fuckin coffee…..

      • dontfeedgigantor - Jan 15, 2013 at 1:15 AM


        Lately we’ve been testing for amphetamine usage.

  3. eoneil32 - Jan 14, 2013 at 10:07 AM

    Dawson definitely belongs…poor article written out of emotion.

    • djpostl - Jan 14, 2013 at 11:30 AM

      The only thing definite is one cannot say “Dawson definitely belongs”.

      He is every bit the borderline player and the author was spot on when referencing the crazy year that 1987 was.

      You take that out of his line and replace it with what was his typical level of production in that stretch of his career and his numbers are Andruw Jones like.

      And nobody would ever think of saying Jones is a sure fire HoFer.

      • jeffbbf - Jan 14, 2013 at 2:33 PM

        I think the issue here is that before the PED debacle and expansion, Dawson’s stats would make a very strong case for the HOF. Now, 438 lifetime homers just don’t seem all that impressive compared to Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, Palmiero, Arod, etc. Shame.

      • djpostl - Jan 14, 2013 at 4:17 PM

        I don’t know. I think that even before PEDs his numbers were borderline at best. The magical 500 HRs, 3000 hits, 300 wins standards (as questionable as they may be) was in place during his era.

        There is a reason why he didn’t even get to 50% in the voting in 2002, before the baseball world was turned on it’s head by allegations of widespread PED use.

        He just wasn’t considered by most to be worthy.

  4. 5toolgeezy - Jan 14, 2013 at 11:35 AM

    Wow. You really hate Andre Dawson for some reason.

  5. dabirdguy - Jan 14, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    Andre Dawson is the kind of player that the stats lie about.
    The stats say he was good. Very Good.
    The stats do not impart how hard he played or the fear he put into opposing pitchers and managers.
    The stats do not impart how much better his team played because of him.
    The stats do not impart his clubhouse presence and leadership.
    Everything today seems to be about the stats, like the “arguments” raised in this article.Guys that write this kind of crap should be boycotted, which I intend to do from today on.
    Matthew Pouliot is typical of most wannabe sportswriters. He wouldn’t know a GOOD ballplayer from a bag of bats.

    • louhudson23 - Jan 14, 2013 at 12:20 PM

      Baseball statistics are like a girl in a bikini. They show a lot, but not everything. ~Toby Harrah, 1983

      I wasn’t there when he said it,so maybe he didn’t really say it. But whoever said it knew what the hell they were talkin about…

      • clydeserra - Jan 14, 2013 at 3:25 PM

        grown men should not be looking at “girls” in bikinis

    • joegolfer - Jan 15, 2013 at 2:42 AM

      Stats can often be what a lamp post is to a drunk: used more for support than illumination.
      In other words, one can take certain stats and make them fit a certain scenario.
      Dawson was borderline, but stats don’t tell of the intangibles, as the post by dabirdguy notes.
      Yes, stats are important, but they don’t tell everything, and they can be used selectively to argue for or against anything.
      And as for the article noting that Dawson was aided by Wrigley Field, the author should check the stats on that, as in reality the park works against the hitter more than for him, depending on the month of the year. Yes, there are a couple of months when the wind is blowing out, but there are actually more months when the wind is blowing inwards, so that old Wrigley saw just doesn’t hold weight.
      It merely gets a lot of press during the couple of months when the wind is blowing out, leading many ill informed, including actual sportswriters, to believe that it is always that way.

  6. jollyjoker2 - Jan 14, 2013 at 9:35 PM

    Yep, mark mcquire would have hit 64 home runs if he wasn’t juiced. HA HAH HHAHHHSHAHHAHAH HHAHHAHHHAHHAHHAHAHHHAHH H

  7. joegolfer - Jan 15, 2013 at 3:19 AM

    The author mentions that Dawson’s 1987 year was because it was a “rabbit ball” year, and that he wouldn’t have made the HOF if not for that “rabbit ball” being the only cause for his good season.
    Author states that that is the only reason why Dawson hit 49 HR’s that year.
    But if one checks the records for that year, there were only four men in all of MLB, both the American and National Leagues combined, who had more than 40 homeruns that season, and one of them was Mark McGuire (and we already know his true reason, and it wasn’t a “rabbit ball”).
    One can hardly call 1987 a “rabbit ball” year, despite the author’s assertions.
    Author also says playing at Wrigley Field aided Dawson, yet actual weather stats tell us that the wind actually blows in more frequently than it blows out at Wrigley. If the author watched more baseball than the nightly highlight reel he might already know that fact.
    If Wrigley were so homer-friendly, as the author attests, then we would see far more HR’s flying out than we do.
    We don’t see a lot of guys blasting HR’s out regularly like in Texas, unless we count the aberration known as Sammy Sosa and his “Flintstone vitamins”.

    Dawson also got all of those RBI’s while playing for a last place team that year.
    Cubs were 76-85, coming in sixth out of six teams in the N.L. East.
    The author states that Dawson’s MVP award was undeserved, because it was during that so called “rabbit ball” season.
    Now let’s deal with reality: Dawson hit 49 homers in a year in which only three other guys hit over 40, and one of them was McGuire. Dawson had 137 rbi’s for a lousy team that came in last place.
    Doesn’t sound like any “rabbit ball” year to me. And Dawson carried the team that year, which is why he won an MVP for a crappy last place team, a very difficult task indeed.
    The author snarks that Dawson had been a top notch center fielder, but was now moved to right, but he fails to note that Dawson played many years on Montreal’s artifical turf, which was essentially like a concrete patio with a cheap rug on it, which destroyed Dawson’s knees to the point that he had trouble running late in his career.
    Many ballplayers change position later in their careers. Ernie Banks moved from shortstop to 1B, and he’s just one example amongst many. In the A.L., many simply become DH’s, such as Frank Thomas, who should enter the HOF soon. So we can’t really blame Dawson for changing positions, especially when he played a demanding one still. Right Field is typically where you put a very strong armed fielder, and as any Chicagoan would know, right field at Wrigley is known for being particularly difficult to play because of the sun.
    It’s too bad Matthew Pouliout doesn’t know more about baseball and less about snarky comments.

  8. d070033 - Jan 19, 2013 at 11:41 AM

    Its amazing how we can forgive somethings and not others. Mantle was great, but he was a social degenerate drunk and sometimes played that way. Its an example, but most of these players are flawed and the baseball hall of fame seems to now be everything folks that are in it claim it not to be. Its not the hall of fame, its the hall of pretty good governed by a bunch of self serving writers, half of which never even played the game.

    As for Dawson, stop it, the guy is not a hall of famer and neither is Jim Rice or Mazeroski. Nice ball players that may belong in their individual teams ‘circle of honor’ but best to every play….not even in the conversation.

  9. drrock100 - Jun 12, 2013 at 4:17 PM

    Very Poor and shallow analysis here.
    Is Dawson was a dominant player of his era ? Yes.
    Does it was among the best MLB ceterfielder for a significant strech ? Yes

    1 time MVP
    2 times finnishing second in the MVP vote ! (hello?)
    Member of the 300-300 club before it was a club packed with PED users.
    8 gold gloves in centerfield, only 10-12 other guys could say the same.
    500 + doubles and 400+ home runs, more than 1000 extra base hits.
    8 allstar presences.

    Comme on, change your target please. Dawson is one of the best hitter of the 80s and this decade deserve to be in the HOF. Not only their pichers but some hitters too.

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