The debate is over. After nine tries, Andre Dawson finally took his rightful place in Cooperstown on Sunday.
There’s all the stats you know about — an eight-time All-Star with 2,774 hits and 1,591 RBIs, plus one of only three men with 400 homers and 300 stolen bases — but did you know that The Hawk also taught me how to read?
One of the tools my dad used while I was learning to read was the sports page. And I still recall reading a Chicago Tribune article and column about one of Dawson’s bigger games in the 1987 season the day after it happened. Or maybe it was the ’88 season. All I know is both stories were on Dawson and I was no older than 6. So in an indirect way, Andre Dawson had an effect on my education.
A lot of Cub fans are upset that Dawson entered the hall with an Expos hat rather than a Cubs one, but I am not one of them. No city has been screwed over harder by Major League Baseball than Montreal. Had the 1994 season been completed, the Expos were a rock-solid pick for the World Series. And if that happens, I firmly believe that the franchise gets a new stadium and is still in Quebec. They were drawing more than the Mets when the strike occurred.
Instead, everything went to hell in a handbasket and all Expos fans have left are memories. And this was a day they deserved to cherish those memories.
Speaking of Cooperstown, I would advise every baseball to attend at least one induction ceremony by the end of their lives. I had the good fortune of attending Ryne Sandberg’s in 2005, and I believe it’s the best sporting event I’ve ever been at in person. Nowhere else will you be surrounded by so much baseball history, whether it’s inside the Hall itself or literally running into Stan Musial as you walk out of a restaurant onto the small town’s temporarily crowded sidewalks as my buddy Two Beers and I did.
Once you visit, you understand why everyone is so overwhelmed to get in.