“I don’t think I ever managed a greater player or a human being.”
-former Chicago Cubs manager Don Zimmer on Dawson
The 53rd annual Red Smith Sports Award Banquet will honor Major League Baseball Hall-of-Famer Andre Nolan Dawson, aka “The Hawk” with the 2018 Scheels Sports “Nice Guy” Award. Each year, this Award is given to an athlete who has excelled at their sport on a national stage, all the while bringing great sportsmanship and honor to the sport.
Dawson was selected by the Montreal Expos in the 1975 draft and was voted Rookie of The Year in 1977 after batting .282, with 19 home runs, and 65 runs batted in. He played centerfielder until knee problems forced a shift to right field, but still won six straight Gold Glove Awards for fielding excellence with the Expos. Additionally, Dawson hit two home runs in the same inning twice: at the Atlanta Braves on July 30, 1978 and at Wrigley Field against his future team, the Chicago Cubs, on September 24, 1985.
In 1987, Dawson left Montreal as a free agent and played six years with the Chicago Cubs. In his first year there, Dawson led the league in home runs with 49, won a Gold Glove Award and became the first player to ever win the league MVP while on a last place team. He went on to make five all-star appearances with the Cubs.
Finally, Dawson spent a short time with the Red Sox, where he hit his 400th career home run on April 15, 1992, and Florida Marlins before retiring in 1996. Dawson finished his career with 2,774 hits, 438 home runs, 314 stolen bases, making him one of only five players to achieve 400 home runs and 300 stolen bases. He was only the second player to do so, and sits among the elite company of Barry Bonds, Willie Mays, Alex Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran.
Despite twelve knee surgeries, Andre Dawson was and eight-time NL All-Star, received eight Gold Glove Awards, four Silver Slugger Awards, and was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on July 25, 2010. Cubs teammate Ryne Sandberg campaigned for Dawson’s induction during his speech at his own Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 2005 saying “No player in baseball history worked harder, suffered more or did it better than Andre Dawson. He’s the best I’ve ever seen… He did it the right way, the natural way, and he did it in the field and on the bases and in every way.”
Most recently, Dawson released an autobiography titled “If You Love This Game: An MVP’s Life in Baseball” in May, 2012 and starred in a discount double check commercial with Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood.