Best known as the “The Hawk” throughout his childhood and professional career for his hawk-like eye at the plate, Andre Dawson put together an impressive career that spanned 21 seasons and ultimately led to an induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010. Despite going unselected until the 11th round of the 1975 amateur draft out of Florida A&M by the Montreal Expos, Dawson made his major league debut just over one year later and by 1977 he had become an everyday outfielder for the Expos. Dawson earned National League Rookie of the Year honors in 1977 to kick off a 10 year run as one of the elite outfielders in the N.L.
Over the course of his Expos career Dawson earned three AllStar Game nods, three Silver Sluggers, six Gold Glove awards and he led the league in base hits in 1983. After the 1986 season Dawson signed as a free agent with the Chicago Cubs and began his career on the north side of Chicago in 1987 in grand fashion by winning the N.L. Most Valuable Player award after he set career highs and led the league with 49 home runs, 137 runs batted in and 353 total bases. Although knee injuries hampered much of Dawson’s career – he underwent 12 knee surgeries throughout it – Dawson maintained a high level of play during his six year tenure with the Cubs as evidenced by five more All-Star Game selections, two more Gold Gloves, a Silver Slugger and three top20 finishes in MVP voting.
The twilight of Dawson’s Hall of Fame career was played out with two-year stints with the Boston Red Sox and his home town Florida Marlins before he retired after the 1996 season. As a testament to his immense baseball talent and relentless work ethic, Dawson’s combination of the 438 home runs and 314 stolen bases over his career are matched by only three other players in baseball history – Willie Mays, Alex Rodriguez and Barry Bonds. Since his retirement Dawson has maintained a front office role with the Marlins and he also owned a soul food restaurant in Miami Gardens, FL for a number of years. Dawson also remains a fan favorite in Chicago, the city where his career reached new heights. In 2012 Dawson released If You Love This Game: An MVP's Life in Baseball, an autobiography, and he frequently participates in many philanthropic and youth baseball endeavors as well.
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