Thursday, January 28, 2010

Andre Dawson tells how he almost signed with the New York Mets in 1987

Andre Dawson announced Tuesday that he would be going into the Hall of Fame as a member of the Montreal Expos. Dawson was in New York this week for the 21st annual Baseball Assistance Team dinner, which works to support former baseball players who are experiencing financial and medical hardships. His support for the organization goes back to his playing days, when in 1992 he was cited in a Sports Illustrated article as one of only a handful of Major League players that contributed to the BAT to support the legends of the Negro Leagues.
Andre Dawson / N. Diunte
Former New York Mets manager Davey Johnson told how the team courted the newly minted Hall of Famer during the 1986 off-season.

"First of all, I pleaded with Frank Cashen to sign Andre Dawson," Johnson said. "I said, 'It's not going to be expensive, I think he'll play for $500,000, we could really use him.' It wasn't in our policy to sign free agents. We never signed a free agent; Cashen wouldn't do it, as long as I was there anyway. I really tried to get him, I thought he was a heck of a player and I would have found playing time for him."

Dawson said that he found playing in New York to be a riveting experience.

"Early on in my career facing, Tom Seaver, Doc Gooden, playing against Darryl Strawberry, it was exciting," Dawson said. "[New Yorkers] were a different type of fan; very competitive. They had teams that for some reason would always find a way in the late innings [to win]. They would call it that Mets magic, I didn't believe it, but they would make it happen in the late innings. They had some stellar athletes that made the game enjoyable."

Imagine the Hawk in the same outfield as Darryl Strawberry, both MVP candidates in their prime. Would Dawson have been the piece that made the Mets repeat or three time champions? Unfortunately for Mets fans, it didn't happen. Dawson signed with the Cubs for $700,000 prior to the 1987 season, and won the MVP that season for the cellar dwellers.


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