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'Respect' drove Dawson to sign blank contract

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By Phil Rogers
Andre Dawson just wanted to play when he filed for free agency after the 1986 season. He's not sure whether the Cubs knew he would take them up on their offer to sign a blank contract and play for whatever amount the team determined. But he says he was more than happy to play for $500,000, the salary figure filled in by Dallas Green.
"For me, it wasn't about a monetary issue,'' Dawson said. "It was about respect.''
Because no teams had stepped up to sign Dawson or any of the other top free agents that year, agent Dick Moss let the Cubs know that Dawson would play for whatever figure they offered. He has a solid recollection of his talks with Green, then the Cubs' general manager.
"He called me, said he had gone through [the contract] with his attorneys and that there didn't seem to be any questions about it [being valid], but that the best they could do was offer you $500,000. I said that's perfectly fine, when can I report? He paused for a moment -- I can only speculate what he was doing then -- and said I'll get back to you. He called me back an hour later and said welcome aboard.''

That free-agent market later was judged by an arbitrator to have been manipulated by owners, and Dawson was among the players receiving damages from those collusion findings.


One of my The best people to play the game. We need more like him now. Congratulations

Joseph in indy on January 6, 2010 9:44 PM

Wow, seeing his pictures reminds me of back when I used to feel a connection to pretty much all the Cubs players, pretty much everyone of that era but Bowa. Now- not so much.

But Hawk was special. They don't make 'em like they used to.

Congrats Mr Dawson!

Shirish Darshane on January 6, 2010 9:05 PM

Congrats to Andre Dawson !!!! What a great player, played hard, honest and not for $$$$. Played for respect. Will be there at Cooperstown for the ceremony.

Phil Garcia on January 6, 2010 8:58 PM

Andre Dawson is one of the greats. He played with "heart" and gave it his all every day. The 87' season was one for the Storybooks and you'll never see a player do what he did that year with the contract that he had. I can remember watching Andre out at Wrigley when I was a kid. He had an absolute cannon. He could easily throw the ball from the corner of deep right field for a strike to home plate. Poor Jody Davis used to grimace when he caught the ball. He was definitely a special player and an inspiration to many. Andre was one of the most feared at the plate, ask Eric Show. Be proud to sport his jersey at a Ball game, he's one of a kind.

I can't imagine any player today being that unselfish. Too bad Hendry couldn't get Soriano, Zambrano, Fukudome, Bradley, or any of the obscenely overrated and overpaid bums to sign a contract like that. Congratulations to the Hawk!

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