When Hall of Fame induction weekend in July rolls around and I find myself standing in the middle of thousands of Cubs fans (and perhaps a few Nationals fans sprinkled throughout) in Cooperstown, NY to listen to Andre Dawson give his Hall of Fame induction speech, he MIGHT be wearing a Cubs cap. This has yet to be decided.
Anyone else concerned about Ted Lilly?
Mark McGwire has admitted to using steroids on the same day Greg Maddux returns to the Cubs as the assistant to GM Jim Hendry.
“And at the end of seven, it’s Dawson 5, Phillies 3.”
As for today, at the end of nine years, it’s Dawson 1, Everyone else 0.
The quote listed above is from Harry Caray in calling Andre Dawson’s classic three run home run game against Philadelphia on August 1, 1987. Hawk had five RBI on the three home runs and nearly single handedly defeated the Phillies. At the top of the ninth the graphic on the screen actually read: Top of the 9th, Dawson 5, Phillies 3. An unbelievable performance from what is now, an official hall of famer.
Like that day in 1987, today was all about Andre Dawson. If Andre Dawson’s living room were complete with a right field bleacher section, I’m sure it would’ve been filled with shirtless, thrilled Cubs fans bowing to the great outfielder as he heard the news that he was the only person to receive enough votes today from the BBWAA to be elected into Cooperstown.
What that moment must have been like for Dawson after an amazing career and 14 years after he last played in an MLB game. Nine years of will he or won’t he, with the most recent years having him come within even 44 votes of being elected. Dawson recently mentioned that while many HOFers were telling him it was only a matter of time before the player they respected so much got the call, 44 votes was a large jump for where he was and perhaps this wouldn’t be the year. After all, he was a Cub and they are used to looking forward to next year.
In 2010, there is no more waiting until next year for this Cub. Andre Dawson is the sole player to be voted into the baseball Hall of Fame.
Sandberg mentioned Hawk in his induction speech. It will be interesting to hear what Andre has to say in his. Immediately after I heard the news today I started calling around to hotels in the Cooperstown area. I wanted to make sure that I had a room reserved so that I don’t miss the induction ceremony come July 25th. You know Cubs fans. We show up everywhere! Forget sell outs at Wrigley game in and game out…Cubs fans show up on the road, at conventions and anywhere else we can to support the team. I spoke to a women working for the BBHOF today and she mentioned that some years, they’ve had as many as 80,000 show up for the induction speeches. Granted, I’m sure those were years when more than one player was voted in. Still, Cubs fans are Cubs fans and I know that tiny town in upstate NY will be loaded with them come July. I know I’ll be there and I can’t wait to capture and remember every moment of the weekend.
When I got home today I had to write again how amazing it is for Andre and say congratulations once more. I immediately threw on his three home run game from the Cubs legends DVD collection and just got finished watching it. So cool to be able to relive that incredible performance. In addition to writing this post, I also shot my first Prose and Ivy vlog for the site which is posted below and on my new youtube channel to partner up with this blog. You can check out the site and leave comments on my blog here (obviously) and leave comments on my videos on youtube…the channel is called ProseAndIvyTV…by clicking here.
Here is the video I shot today about Dawson getting into the Hall of Fame:
Need to get back to this tonight when I have more time to write, but I had to jump on quick and celebrate with a tiny post at least….2010! Hall of Famer Andre Dawson!!!! The Hawk is in!!! So cool…way to go Andre! See you in Cooperstown!
One of the major upsides I’ve heard so far to the Cubs signing Marlon Byrd as their new center fielder is that he’s a guy who comes with great character. Quality as a person through and through, the kind of guy the Cubs should be welcoming into a clubhouse that has seen it’s share of in fighting, finger pointing and broken Gatorade coolers in recent years. I reached out to Texas fans on Twitter the other day to find out their POV of what we’re getting in Byrd and one of the responses I received read, “[Byrd is] an awesome team player who never quits! He’s a player that will run out everything even if it’s a routine groundball. He will make plays that will astound you in the outfield! I am sad to see him go. He will be a player that I will watch and root for wherever he goes.” Sounds like the kind of person we should be thrilled to have as a Cub in 2010. Let’s hope he’s the kind of player we’d like as well.
Cubs hitting coach Jamarillo had Byrd for a few years and thinks very highly of him. He has Byrd pencilled in as solid five hole guy in the Cubs batting lineup to start the season and mentioned he’s a great leader in the clubhouse and a great teacher. Seeing that Byrd averaged .295 over the three years he worked with Jamarillo in Texas, it would appear that he understands the tools Jamarillo uses to teach so another solid leader improving our lineup from 1-9 couldn’t hurt. We lost too many games last year due to an ineffective offense, run production way down from the year before. Time to get back in form and match the success of ’07 and ’08 with division crowns. Only this time, match that success with positive results in the playoffs (aka: don’t get swept by LA).
Sure Marlon’s last name obviously helps recall a guy like Andre Dawson whose nickname is the Hawk, but it’s the quality people see in his character that I’d like to focus on here. Even Ryne Sandberg mentioned in his Hall of Fame acceptance speech that Dawson was once of the classiest teammates he ever had and that Dawson played the game the way the game was supposed to be played. Sandberg said, “Andre Dawson, the Hawk. No player in baseball history worked harder, suffered more, or did it better than Andre Dawson. He’s the best I’ve ever seen. I watched him win MVP for a last place team in 1987 and it was the most unbelievable thing I’ve ever seen in baseball.” The intangibles should be focused on when it comes to voting players into the Hall of Fame in addition to their career stats. Andre Dawson should be a no-brainer to be voted in this year seeing that he has been on the ballot for nine years now and is long overdue. He brought speed, power, defense and character to the ballpark year in and year out…starting with his first year as a Cub where he agreed to a blank contract and let the Cubs decide how much they wanted to pay him after he’d already agreed. He loved the game of baseball and loved being a Cub. Time for the BBWAA to show some love back.
After doing some research I came across a copy of the Hall Of Fame ballot sent to voting members of the BBWAA:
The MLB Network turns one today and much like my nephew who turned one in November, really only the people that created it understand it’s being celebrated.
New talent will make for an even greater 2010 on the network with Peter Gammons of ESPN fame joining the gang. Hopefully, the new talent the Cubs add this off-season will provide a positive boost as well. Marlon Byrd may be the biggest acquisition thus far for GM Hendry and the team on the North Side, however the off-season is long from being over.
Hendry is keeping within the budget the owners have asked to stick to and considering so far we’ve rid ourselves of an ineffective bullpen stat line eye sore in Gregg, a second rate dud at second base in Miles and an outfielder who couldn’t stand Cubs fans who resorted to giving out free baseballs to fans in right as souvenirs (unfortunately on fly balls he caught while there were still less than three outs and men on base) and upgraded our outfielder situation by moving Fukudome to right (where he’ll be more of an asset) and mixing in the talented and if nothing else, available, Byrd in centerfield…I’d say so far, so ‘pretty good’ by Hendry this off-season. Would I count on Byrd to put my chances of a thrilling October with a happy ending for a book deal all by himself? NO WAY and I’ll have more on Byrd later. (Regarding the book deal, see the post listed below this one).
There are still more moves to be made and deals to be done. By GM Hendry for sure and hopefully with an interested publishing company as well. Time will tell.
For today though, happy birthday to the MLB Network! Mark Newman, the enterprise editor of MLB.com wrote an article commemorating the network’s first anniversary. He asked for people to send him their thoughts regarding what it has been like having the network available 24/7 over the past year. I submitted and am quoted at the end of the piece! It reads:
Ryan Maloney, a Cubs fan in New York, said it changed his baseball world and he cannot wait to see what is next.
“Having MLB Network 24/7 has been an amazing resource, as it practically puts the viewer in the Commissioner’s Office with their timeliness in breaking news and updates surrounding the game,” Maloney said. “Having MLB Network on 24/7 has provided younger viewers with an opportunity to allow historic-game footage to serve as the face of the biggest names of baseball past.
“[It’s] a great way to allow fans of all ages to truly appreciate what makes the game of baseball the great game it has developed into today and the people that have contributed to our country’s favorite pastime along the way. The days of getting your baseball news from boutique sports news stations ended a year ago, the day MLB opened its specialty shop in the MLB Network.”