|HAWK KICKS OFF FIRST OF 33 ALL-STAR CARDS.|
|AMASSED 2,774 HITS.|
DEFINING THE PLAYER
- Before the steroid era distorted not only statistics but the players themselves, Andre Dawson stood apart. Broad shoulders, a tiny waist and the long legs of a sprinter, Hawk's body of work on the diamond was as impressive as that 6-foot-3, 197-pound reflection in the clubhouse mirror. He hit 438 homers in his 21-year Hall of Fame career and stole 314 bases, one of only eight in the 300-300 club. He also was a charter member of another exclusive club: the first to win an MVP while playing for a losing ballclub in 1987.
- On March 9, 1987, Dawson signed as a free agent with the Cubs in spring training. Why did a mega-star like Dawson stay on the market so long? This was the heart of the collusion era as owners tried to curb escalating salaries in an illegal ploy. Dawson, eager to leave the Expos and the brutal Olympic Stadium turf, presented the Cubs a signed blank contract. The Cubs got Dawson for a salary of $500,000, plus incentives.
- Stands to reason it would be '87. Dawson set career highs in homers (49) and RBI (137) for the 76-win Cubs. He won the seventh of eight Gold Gloves and his fourth Silver Slugger.
FIVE FINAL FACTS
- Hit the ground running in his first full season with the Expos in '77, stealing 19 bases, hitting 21 homers and winning the NL Rookie of the Year.
- Dawson finished NL MVP runner-up twice in three seasons, in '81 and '83.
- Averaged 24 homers and 30 steals a season from '77-'83.
- Ranks 15th all-time in RBI in the NL with 1,476.
- Only Dawson, Bobby Bonds and Willie Mays hit 400-plus HRs and stole 300-plus bags.