Thursday, January 28, 2010

Right Man, Right Hat, Wrong Attitude

The greatest honor bestowed on someone who works in the professional baseball world is to be elected into the Hall of Fame. Most men greet this induction with professionalism, excitement, and gratitude. After all, it takes a vote of 75% of more for a player to be inducted, and for most, years and a ton of lobbying to get to that point.

This year Andre Dawson (nicknamed "The Hawk") was elected into the hall of fame after 8 years of being on the ballot. This is not a blog to argue if he should be in the Hall or not. I am 100% in agreement that he should have been elected and am extremely excited for him.

This is about the exhausting bellyaching that he has been doing about not being inducted into the Hall with a Cubs hat on.

Andre Dawson became a household name with the Chicago Cubs. I don't even know many White Sox fans who were or are not fans of his- and rightfully so. He had a stand up season in 1987 with the Cubs winning the NL MVP award with an outstanding 49 home runs and 137 RBI's. For a lot of Cub fans, he was their Frank Thomas of the late 1980s-early 1990s.

If Dawson wants to go in with a Cub hat to the Hall of Fame, that's great, I'm happy for him. I'm also sad for him that he didn't get his wish, but after coming out to the press telling about how he was disappointed in the decision, he didn't let it go. In fact, he mentioned on the 27th that he was "disappointed in the fact, but from there I will move on."

This morning ESPN reported that Dawson has not moved on. In fact he'd done quite the opposite. Dawson now is reporting that he will don a Cubs hat at his induction ceremony.

"I don't want to do anything that might be an embarrassment to someone or show someone up, that's not my character. But there will be some way I will try to acknowledge the Cubs fans to show just how important they were to me. I did think about at some point in time during the speech putting a Cubs cap on, but I don't know if that's appropriate."

To be fair, let me recap a little history for you. In 2001 the Hall of Fame changed the rule to reflect that they would make the executive decision of what logo a player would wear on the cap on his HoF plaque. The reason for this is because some teams were playing unfair and trying to buy out HoF elect's logo decisions. The Tampa Bay Rays offered Wade Boggs money to wear the TB logo on his cap which was clearly unfair and corrupt.

The choice of which logo goes on the cap is the decision of the museum, but the player's preference is always taken into consideration. Dawson after learning of his election had expressed his desire to go in with a Cub logo. The Hall, who's mission it is to preserve the sports history, thought it appropriate to preserve the history of the Montreal Expos and the portion of his career that catapulted him to the status he reached ultimately as a Cub by placing the logo on Dawson's cap.

Either logo would have been appropriate in my opinion, but to look at things historically, the Montreal logo made the most sense. There are many who look at Dawson as the Montreal Expo. The Expos moved to Washington DC in 2004 and renamed themselves the Nationals, and aside from Gary Carter, Dawson is the only other player to be inducted with an Expo's logo on his cap.
Fans who were and still consider themselves to be Expo's fans are disgusted. Carter, Dawson, and Raines were the three of the biggest names in Expo's history. Andre spent the first 11 seasons of his career in Montreal and in 1977 Dawson won the Rookie of the Year award there with a .282 average, 19 Home runs, and 65 RBI's, and was the MVP runner up in 1981 and 1983. Five Expo's represented the team when the 1982 All-Star game was held in Montreal: Tim Raines, Gary Carter, Al Oliver and Rogers, and Andre Dawson.

For Dawson to come out and be so incredibly disgusted with the Hall's choice to use the Expo's logo on his cap is not only a slap in the face to Expo's fans but also the Hall of Fame in general.

If he wanted to express his opinion on the matter, that's fine, but the comments he's been making about the decision is just plain disrespectful.

All this complaining coming from a guy who was running around promising teams that he would go into the Hall with the logo of whatever team he finished his career out with. He ultimately signed an obligatory-logo clause with the Marlins when he went to play with them for the last stint of his professional career. Apparently, it didn't matter then what logo he went into the Hall of Fame with, but now that the clause has been overturned by the Hall's choice to make the ultimate decision theirs, it's suddenly important.

Now, after he's found out of his election, the Cub's were offering to retire his number if he went in with their logo. I just have one question for the Chicago Cubs- when did it become 'ok' to abuse politics in baseball? Isn't this exactly the kind of compensation the HoF was taking into consideration when they adjusted things so that the logo decision would be theirs alone???

Now, everyone knows that it wasn't Andre's decision, but since the HoF takes a player's preference into consideration, lobbying the Hall to go in as a Cub would have helped increase the chances of that happening. Reports of the number-retire buyout surfaced previously but clearly didn't make a difference. Andre lobbied and the Hall declined his partiality.

In addition to all of the complaining, Dawson has also blasted White Sox fan, and President of the United States, Barrack Obama, for not calling him to congratulate him for his election to the Hall.

"I haven't heard from President Obama probably because he's a White Sox fan."

Dawson remarked to the Chicago ESPN affiliate.

Wow. You're right- you haven't heard from Obama because he's a White Sox fan. It's not like he has anything else to do like RUN A COUNTRY. Forget prepping for the State of the Union address- the number one on his "To-Do" list was: Call and congratulate Andre Dawson. But he didn't- ONLY BECAUSE HE'S A WHITE SOX FAN... Are you kidding me?

To me this whole thing seems like a circus act. Andre complaining, the Cubs offering to retire his number, the Hall declining, and Andre lashing back out shows every sign of a media extravaganza.

To the members of the board of the HoF this is a slap in the face. The greatest honor you can receive is to be inducted into Cooperestown. Andre Dawson should be proud to be a member of such an elite group. The Cubs, if they really valued him as a player so much, should retire his number despite what logo Dawson wears on plaque.

Like I said, this blog isn't to debate what logo he should wear, or if he should have been elected into the Hall (and personally, if anyone wants to debate that, there's no point. Not only does the guy have Hall of Fame numbers but for the most part he has a Hall of Fame career class-wise. He was a part of baseball history and deserves his election), or to upset Cub fans. This blog isn't to debate whether or not a player should be able to pick his own logo, but to remind everyone that an election into the Hall is an honor. An election into the Hall of fame is a privilege.

If Andre has a problem with the logo then by all means, he should voice his opinion, but he should not contradict himself, and he should not spend 48+ hours bellyaching and complaining about the decision. Dawson- let it go. Show us what a classy guy you are and stop complaining. Don't wear a Cubs hat during your induction ceremony- it's just inappropriate and a slap in the face to the men who elected to bring you into Cooperstown. You've made your point clear- and Cub fans are aware of your desire to go in as a Cub and your love for Chicago and it's fans.

My advice to you is to wear your Expo's logo proudly and be one of the classy men that the Hall loves to promote. You are one of two (maybe three, because Raines will most likely go in as an Expo as well) to keep the history alive for Montreal. Above all, you are a Hall of Fame inductee. Some men spend 15 years after retirement lobbying to be in the Hall, and the decision of these worthy players now lay on the shoulders of the Veteran's committee.

And if that doesn't put it all in perspective- I leave you with this: Buck Weaver only got to play less than half the time Dawson did in the majors but managed to have over half the games played, hits, runs, and doubles as Andre. Their batting averages .273 (Buck) and .279 (Dawson) respectively were insanely close, as were their OBP- .307 (Buck) and .323 (Dawson). Keeping in mind that Buck Weaver was banned from ball in the heyday of his career, Dawson should feel lucky and exhilarated that he not only got to live out his career as major league player, but also be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Andre- start counting your blessings, and get rid of the attitude. Try showing fans of baseball and the fans you love to represent on the Northside of Chicago what it is to be a classy Hall of Famer. Because personally, I'm sick of the complaining and I don't want to hear it anymore.

For reference these are some HoF players who have been associated with multiple teams: (per wiki)
  • Frank Robinson: Robinson chose to have the Orioles cap displayed on his plaque, although he had played ten seasons with the Reds and six seasons with Baltimore. Robinson won four pennants and two World Series with the Orioles and one pennant with Cincinnati. His second World Series ring came in the 1970 World Series against the Reds. His numbers with the Orioles and the Reds were very good and he won an MVP award while playing for each team.
  • Catfish Hunter: When elected to the Hall of Fame in 1987, Hunter declined to choose between the teams for which he played — the A's and Yankees— as he had been successful with both teams and maintained good relations with both teams and their respective owners. His plaque shows him wearing a cap without a logo.
  • Nolan Ryan: Born and raised in Texas, Ryan entered the Hall in 1999 wearing a Texas Rangers cap on his plaque, although he spent only five seasons with the Rangers, while having longer and more successful tenures with the Houston Astros (nine seasons, 1980–88 and his record-setting fifth career no-hitter) and California Angels (eight seasons, 1972–79 and the first four of his seven career no-hitters). Ryan's only championship was as a member of the New York Mets in 1969. Ryan finished his career with the Rangers, reaching his 5000th strikeout and 300th win, and throwing the last two of his seven career no-hitters.
  • Reggie Jackson: Jackson chose a New York Yankees cap over an Oakland A's cap. As a member of the Kansas City/Oakland A's, Jackson played ten seasons (1967–75, '87), winning three World Series and the 1973 AL MVP Award. During his five years in New York (1977-81), Jackson won two World Series with his crowning achievement occurring during Game 6 of the 1977 World Series, when he hit three home runs on consecutive pitches.
  • Carlton Fisk: Fisk went into the hall with a Boston Red Sox cap on his plaque in 2000 despite playing with the Chicago White Sox longer and posting more significant numbers with the White Sox. Fisk's choice of the Red Sox was likely because of his being a New England native, as well as his famous walk-off home run in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series with which he is most associated.
  • Dave Winfield: Winfield had spent the most years in his career with the Yankees and had had great success there, but chose to go into the Hall as a Padre due to his feud with Yankees owner George Stienbrenner.
We Are Chicago Baseball


  1. Being a die-hard Cub fan I wanted and wished Andre would go in as a Cub where he had his best years but fully understand he was a Expo longer and that's where he began and the significance of being only the 2nd Expo !

  2. Its my personal opinion that it should be the players decision as to what team they want to represent in the HOF. Dawson has said that he wanted to go in as a Cub because that is where he felt appreciated the most, by the fans and by and by the team itself. IF the HOF wants to monitor/investigate the decision to make sure there is no wrong doing, that is fine but ultimately it is the player they are honoring so why shouldn't they honor their decision? Besides despite hardcore baseball enthusiasts, who actually remembers him playing for the Expos? The Cubs were the team that put him on the map and virtually resurrected his career. Personally its a slap in his face that they did not honor his wishes....

  3. everything you just said (anonymous) is why he ShOuLd go in as an Expo.. "who actually remembers him playing for the expos..." he would never have played for the cubs if it Werent for him playing for the expos, and since they arent even a team anymore, all the more reason why they should be remembered in the HOF with players like AD... ok, its generous enough that they take the players wishes into consideration, but every time they decide something other than what the player wants are they going to throw a bitchfit about it? no, probably not.. why? because theyre being elected into the hall of fame!.... and the cubs saying they will retire his number IF he wears their hat is maybe one of the reasons they dont let the players cloose... because any team could tell a player that, or give incentives, or pay just for them to choose that team when it might be WAY more meaningful for them to play for a different team that he played with longer... or better... and thats hardly fair