Andre Dawson

August 14, 2009 · 4 comments

in MLB

Andre 'The Hawk' Dawson, the 1977 Rookie of the Year, spent the majority of his career north of the border in Montreal. There, he flashed his power and speed, roaming center field and earning six of his eight Gold Gloves. But the artificial turf in Olympic Stadium took its toll on The Hawk's knees. In 1987, he was given another chance with the Chicago Cubs where he immediately began paying dividends, earning the NL MVP. Andre Dawson played 21 seasons. He had a productive career, but was it enough to get in to the Hall of Fame?

Career Statistics
G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BA OBP SLG OPS
2627 9927 1373 2774 503 98 438 1591 314 .279 .323 .482 .805
Awards
  • 8 Gold Gloves (1987, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1988)
  • 1 Hutch Award (1994)
  • 1 MVP (1987)
  • 1 Rookie of the Year (1977)
  • 4 Silver Sluggers (1980, 1981, 1983, 1987)
  • 8 All-Star Selections (1981, 1982, 1983, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991)

No Hall

by Matt Thompson

As I waited for the page to load to look at The Hawk's stats versus other outfielders, I started to see a serious list of Hall of Famers—Hank Aaron, Reggie Jackson, Roberto Clemente, Babe Ruth, etc.  Yeah, you read it...Babe Effin' Ruth. Then once the page loaded, I saw Dawson went to FAMU (Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University).  Go Rattlers!

Here is the lowdown on Andre "The Hawk" Dawson—21 seasons, .279 BA, 438 HR, 1591 RBI, 2774 H, .414 SLG, 1373 R, 314 SB, and 503 2B.  Quite honestly, I thought his numbers were better.

I grew up as a Dawson fan, partly because he played with Tim Raines in Montreal and I played baseball with Raines' son.  It was also a big deal when Raines was at the ballpark and you followed the Expos.  Yep, those Expos.  Back in the day, our leaf-loving neighbors to the North had a pretty good squad with Gary Carter, Tim Raines, Andre Dawson, and Tim Wallach.  If you could catch Pasqual Perez pitch the ephus it was a real treat.  Anyway...

Digging a little deeper, Dawson won an MVP (finished second in MVP voting twice), a Rookie of the Year, eight Gold Gloves, and had eight All-Star appearances (even though I think these are worthless).  The biggest question is...in 1989, besides making his baseball card value in Beckett skyrise, what the hell did he do?  He had 49 HR.  In his ten previous seasons, once did he have 30 HR.  It was not even a contract year.  You know the whole "it's a contract year so I start trying" routine?  Yeah...did not apply because it was his first year with the Cubs.

So let's look at stacking The Hawk up against other HoFers.  Ummm...maybe not.  He does not touch those players I previously mentioned, but he does compare with a player in the hall who played roughly the same time—Dave Winfield.

Winfield played in about 300 more games (about 1,000 ABs) than Dawson, but here are the stats—.283 BA, 465 HR, 1833 RBI, .475 SLG, 3110 H, 1669 R, 540 2B and Big Dave didn't steal much.  Crazy how much more output in hits a career .283 hitter is (Winfield) versus .279 (Dawson).  However, Dave never made it past third in MVP balloting.

The MVP balloting is what makes it hard.  Where a player finishes in the MVP race shows how he stacked up against other players of his time.  A dude like Big Dave put together a nice resume, but got there because of longevity.  Dawson was the best or second best player in his league three times.  And if you want to take a decade and analyze a player's performance, three out of ten years with that stat ain't too shabby.

Is there anyone, I mean anyone else, Dawson could stack up against in the modern era?  Puckett?  Nope.  Puckett had a ridiculous amount of hits. Gwynn?  Forget it.  Jim Rice? Ah, yes...Jim Rice.

The only thing Rice has on Dawson is BA and SLG—a lifetime BA of .298 and .502 SLG (which is weird because he ended up with only 373 doubles). Dawson has more HR, RBI, H, and 2B.  Rice won a MVP and only finished in the top three one other time.

Final verdict? Throwing a curveball here...Dawson is not hall worthy.  A great career, but the numbers just don't stack up.  I don't believe playing forever should get you into the Hall and I have no idea how Jim Rice made it in the first place.

Disclaimer:  Dawson will probably be elected in 2010 because he will be the player next on the list with the highest amount of votes not in the Hall of Fame.

 

Hall

by Jonathan Brown

Growing up in Florida, way before the Marlins and Rays, we had two choices to get a baseball fix—TBS with the Braves and WGN with the Cubs. As I previously mentioned, the Braves became my team, but the Cubbies came in second. Many a summer day, I'd watch the Cubs, voiced by Harry Caray and Steve Stone. Shawon Dunston's cannon at short, Rick Sutcliffe and his mullet on the mound, Mark Grace at first and Ryne "Ryno" Sandberg (Class of '05) roaming at second. But who could forget The Hawk flying around in right field?

Andre Dawson has flirted with the Hall of Fame since he became eligible in 2002 when he earned 45.3% of the votes. Each year since his stock has risen with his highest tally in 2009--67%, just 8 points shy of election. It's plain to see, based on the voting trend, that writers are beginning to look past the gaudy steroid numbers to a time where baseball was a bit cleaner--minus the cocaine and gambling and what-not. I wouldn't be surprised to see Dawson get into the Hall in 2010, but does he belong?

If you look at pure statistics over Andre's 21-year career, it doesn't look like he accumulated enough to warrant his place in the Hall. Even though he belted 438 HR (at one point in time an automatic free pass unless your last name is Kingman), he only mustered three 30+ HR seasons. He didn't hit for average either, registering only five seasons with a .300+ AVG, four of those seasons good enough to win a Silver Slugger.

Let's compare Dawson's numbers to a player with strikingly similar skills who was recently voted into the Hall--Dave Winfield (Class of '01). For kicks, let's throw in 2009 inductee, Jim Rice.

PlayerAVGHHRRBISBOBPSLG
Winfield.28331104651833223.355.475
Rice.2982452382145158.352.502
Dawson.27927744381591314.323.482

These numbers are very similar. It really looks like Dawson was one decent season away from being a no-brainer HoFer. Dawson's lifetime .279 AVG would put him among the lowest of all HoF outfielders, tied with Ralph Kiner and better than only Reggie Jackson (Class of '93). Dawson's 438 HR is good enough for #36 on the all-time HR list. His 1,591 RBI puts him at #34 of all time and his 2,774 hits is what we call #45 on the all-time hits list. Based on pure numbers, I have to say that Dawson is certainly on the fence, but I'm not overwhelmed. Let's consider his superlatives to see if The Hawk can teeter to the Hall side.

Even though All-Star selections don't mean anything these days, Dawson did earn eight of them when they meant something. He owns eight Gold Gloves, a Rookie of Year (1977) and a NL MVP award for his stellar 1987 season in which he belted 49 HR and drove in 137 RBI. If there's anything that can put Dawson over the edge it's the fact that he was a solid 5-tool (well, maybe 4.5 tool) guy and a flat out ballplayer for which he earned a Hutch Award in 1994. He is one of six players in the 300-300 club (300+ HR and 300+ SB) and the second to reach the 400-300 club.

If there's ever a been fence candidate, Andre Dawson is certainly one. You can't deny the similarities between Dawson and HoFers Winfield and Rice. You could argue that the superlatives are a wash. You can also argue that Jim Rice doesn't belong in the HoF (I personally don't think he does, but that's a different post). Dawson is in the top 50 in HR, RBI and H and it's too difficult to look past the 400-300 club as some meaningless statistic. I believe that pushes Andre Dawson over the edge and makes him a Hall of Famer.

 

Andre Dawson: Hall or No Hall?

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  • charley8

    Matt, your profile says you are a Atlanta Braves fan. With that in mind, based on your reasoning that Andre Dawson shouldn't be in the Hall of Fame, does that apply to your beloved Dale Murphy as well? Just curious.

    Anyway, it baffles me how you could be against a man who achieved something only a handful of other players in history has, 400 Home Runs/300 Stolen Bases. All of the players you mention in your column failed to reach that plateau.

    I'm going to assume that Jonathan won the coin toss and you had to take the no side and you're actually rooting for The Hawk in 2010.

    Charley

    • http://twitter.com/JonathanBrown Jonathan Brown

      Charley, yeah! Get 'em! But honestly we don't flip a coin to pick sides. We write our opinions independently without sharing our position or stat research. We find out what the other wrote after we are both done. And don't worry, our beloved Dale Murphy is on the list.

  • mthompson55

    Charley-

    I have been out of town but I hear ya. It was a tough call. I literally typed Hall, then erased, then No Hall, and erased again.That slugging percentage kills me.

  • mthompson55

    Charley-

    I have been out of town but I hear ya. It was a tough call. I literally typed Hall, then erased, then No Hall, and erased again.That slugging percentage kills me.

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