Showing posts with label Andre Dawson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Andre Dawson. Show all posts

Saturday, February 4, 2012

New York well represented at 2012 Joe DiMaggio Legends Game

With over a dozen former New York Mets and Yankees represented at the 24th annual Joe DiMaggio Legends Game in Fort Lauderdale last Saturday, the retired heroes of Gotham baseball did their best to honor the memory of the famed Yankee Clipper while supporting the children’s hospital which bears his name.

1969 Mets Jim McAndrew and Ron Swoboda at the Joe DiMaggio Legends game
The game was the culmination of a two-day event, which included a fabulous auction and player reception at the Hard Rock Live in Hollywood the evening prior, where sadly Hall of Fame third baseman Brooks Robinson suffered a broken clavicle after a fall off stage.

Doing their best to push forward after the injury to Robinson, the players radiated as much as the 80-degree sun, donning their uniforms for the enthusiastic crowd. Among the participants were the 85-year-old Minnie Minoso, Hall of Famers Andre Dawson and Orlando Cepeda, as well as the ever colorful characters of Bill “Spaceman” Lee and Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd.

The alumni were split in two teams representing the American and National Leagues. After seven innings, the National League emerged victorious, 12-5; however, for the players, the score was irrelevant. The weekend was an opportunity to raise money for the hospital while being able to return another year to connect with their fellow teammates and cronies.

“Just to see the players that I haven’t seen for a year and the players that I played against that you were never able to sit down and talk to is great," said 1969 New York Met World Series hero Al Weis. "It’s a wonderful bunch of guys they have coming down.”

Ron Blomberg, the famed Yankee designated hitter, has multiple connections to this game, including his son Adam who is a doctor at the hospital.

“This is my seventh year coming here," Blomberg said. "Older players took care of me when I played and if I can give back to the kids, do anything for the charity, I’m involved. My son is the head anesthesiologist at Memorial, so it’s a father-son thing.”

The site of the game, Fort Lauderdale Stadium, was the spring training home of the Yankees for many years until they moved to Tampa. For players like Fritz Peterson, returning to South Florida brought back memories of a burgeoning baseball career.

“I’ve been coming out about five years … it’s a tremendous thing," Peterson said. "This is where I really started in 1966 and played all through my career until I was out of there. This is my spring training home. When the Yankees moved to Tampa, it just didn’t seem right; this seemed like the place to be.”

Event organizers are already planning next year’s event, which will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the game, and is surely expected to be a star studded affair. For more information on the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, please visit

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.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Fallout over 2010 Baseball Hall of Fame voting

In light of Andre Dawson's election to the Baseball Hall of Fame, much attention has been given to the BBWAA writers whose votes put Dawson in, but kept out the likes of Roberto Alomar, Bert Blyleven and Barry Larkin. Many non-voting writers, fans and bloggers cried foul when some BBWAA writers said they didn't vote for the likes of Alomar and Larkin just to make them wait a year. There was also outrage over the reportedly five BBWAA writers who submitted blank ballots, including Jay Mariotti who said he didn't care if he was thrown out of the BBWAA.

Howard Bryant of wrote an excellent piece entitled, "Outrage at HOF voting baseless", where he reminds us the likes of Cy Young, Joe DiMaggio, Whitey Ford, Rogers Hornsby, Roy Campanella and Yogi Berra weren't elected on the first try. Look at that list. Cy Young (the most wins ever), Rogers Hornsby (2nd highest career batting average all-time), Joe DiMaggio (arguably the best centerfielder ever) weren't "first-time" Hall of Famers. Bryant argues that, "Alomar cannot claim superiority over anyone on that list. Each was eventually inducted, and the free world survived." Bryant is right, the clock keeps turning and Alomar and Larkin will see their plaques next to these legends in the near future. This doesn't mean that the process isn't flawed.

While past transgressions in voting don't justify this year's results, maybe the publicity given to this year's vote will start a shift in voting where the BBWAA writers vote for candidates that are Hall of Fame material starting from the first year they are on the ballot. There is no need to make a candidate wait just because the sole reason for not voting is that it is their first year of eligibility. Let's begin to dissolve the mythical sanctity of the "first ballot" Hall of Famer by voting for players like Alomar and Larkin as soon as they're eligible.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Prediction: Nobody will be elected by the BBWAA to the Hall of Fame in 2010

In a poll of 17 baseball writers, none of them were able to reach a 75% consensus to elect any of the current nominees. Roberto Alomar placed first but didn't receive the required 75%. I am curious to see if Wednesday's totals match this. To see the full results, click the link above.