12/23 The Hawk waits for HOF call

Andre Dawson’s wife Vanessa was determined to get their son, Darius, a pair of the latest Nike Air Jordan shoes for Christmas, which meant they had to be at the store by 5 a.m. Wednesday. Andre went with her.

“I told her, ‘Michael [Jordan] is sleeping, dreaming, and counting his millions and we’re out buying sneakers,'” Dawson said Wednesday from his Florida home.

They came away empty handed because the store didn’t have their son’s size. Dawson is hoping he gets better news on Jan. 6 when the Hall of Fame announces the induction class for 2010.

This will be Dawson’s ninth year on the ballot and it’s his best chance to get into Cooperstown. The former Cubs outfielder, who won the NL MVP in 1987, has heard from plenty of other players and Hall of Famers surprised the Hawk isn’t already enshrined.

“They say, ‘You should have been in already,'” Dawson said. “I hear that a lot. A lot of them say, ‘It’s going to happen.’ … A lot of people ask, ‘Why are they waiting?’ I obviously don’t have an answer for that. With no one ahead of me to hurdle, there’s a reason to be a little more optimistic.”

He’ll spend the day the same way as any other day, going to the gym in the morning. He’ll be home in time for the announcement.

“You want to be there when it is announced, just to get some of the feedback from the analysts on who got in and the reasons why the other players didn’t,” Dawson said. “That’s what I’ve had interest in the last few years is if the vote percentage  is going up and how much.”

All the Baseball Writers Association of America voting members need to do is check with Dawson’s teammates, like Shawon Dunston. He worships the Hawk.

“When he was hurt, he just played and played and I was very impressed,” Dunston told me in September. “People always talk about intangibles. He had bad knees and never complained, not once. He never asked to come out of a game, if we were winning 10-0 or down 10-0. … He’s a true gentleman and a true professional.”

Dunston bonded with Dawson immediately. The shortstop was stationed between Ryne Sandberg and Dawson in the home clubhouse at Wrigley Field.

“They were two of the quietest people in the world,” Dunston said. “They didn’t say more than 10 words a day. … I learned from Andre and Ryno how to go about your business and never complain.”

— Carrie Muskat 


This has nothing to do with the story…. I just seen Bradley got traded for Carlos Silva… If I remember right, Carlos Silva was very successful with the Twins as a ground ball pitcher… One year I think he even sported a 3 something ERA… So, this might work out good for the Cubs if Rothschild and him can keep the pitches down… I haven’t followed Silva to know what he has been through as far as medical…. I just looked up his numbers and it looks like with a good pitching coach and catcher he is about a 4 ERA guy and definitely a ground ball pitcher… That means Soto is going to be a problem at catcher with Silva on the mound… cause we all know Soto won’t call for a pitch in the dirt and make himself look bad… I seen it last year with Sean Marshall… Hill is a great catcher though… Silva with Hill behind the plate could be a solid innings eater or maybe even a 5th starter if Silva hits his stride and can bowl some pitches for strikes.. This deal for Carlos Silva might be a good deal for the Cubs if they play it right..

I enjoy reading your work and trust your opinion. I can’t help but feel so little excitement with our cubs this off season. Please share with me your insight as far as younger players coming up or how this off season improved the cubs. This year has been especially tough watching all the other division teams doing something to improve.


Here are the changes so far in the NL Central. The Cubs would look to be in pretty good shape.

CUBS: Moved Milton Bradley, Aaron Heilman, Aaron Miles, and Jake Fox, and lost Kevin Gregg and Rich Harden via free agency. They have added Carlos Silva and Michael Parisi (Rule 5), and signed John Grabow. They’ve also added Minor Leaguers Jeff Gray, Ryne White and Scott Maine from the Heilman deal and Matthew Spencer and Ronny Morla in the Miles/Fox deal. GM Jim Hendry is still looking at center field options (Marlon Byrd the leading candidate) and also is trying to find right-handed help in pen.

CARDINALS: Signed Brad Penny and are waiting to see if Matt Holliday will accept their eight-year, $128 million offer.

BREWERS: Signed Randy Wolf to a three-year, $29.75 million deal, and added reliever LaTroy Hawkins.

ASTROS: Lost Hawkins and closer Jose Valverde to free agency. Signed 3B Pedro Feliz, and Ps Matt Lindstrom and Brandon Lyon (three years, $15 million).

PIRATES: Lost closer Matt Capps to Nationals. Signed Javier Lopez and Jack Taschner for bullpen and still looking for a left-handed bat.

REDS: Trying to trim payroll by shopping Francisco Cordero and Aaron Harang.

I am going by the ESPN free agent tracker… but I would have Johnny Damon at the top of my radar… He has played center.. and Wrigley is so tiny anyway…. But, Johnny Damon just has a way of winning… I seen him fight off pitches and get the hit that won the game in the playoffs so many times.. I seen it when the Red Sox were down 0-3 and cam eback off a Damon hit to RF… I seen it this year in the series… The dude is clutch… Oh, I would pray to see Damon in a Cubs uniform… I don’t care about past injuries… He missed a lot of games and is healthy now.. One year… just a one year deal… with him at center, with Reed Johnson as backup… between the two of them you have the best CF in baseball… Oh, I don’t think there is a single batter in the world I would want up to bat; bases loaded, 2 out, down by a run in game 7 of anything than Damon… He is one of those guys who can change the flow of the game and get his way.. if Damon is available.. tell Hendry to quit messing around and pick him up… whatever he wants… give it to him… I don’t think there is another bat like Johnny Damon in baseball… The dude is Hall of Fame… The Cubs OF would be insane with Damon in CF, Soriano in LF, and Fukudome in RF.. with Reed Johnson to spell anyone.. and Fuld… Oh Lord.. it would be a world series run with Damon…. IF Edmonds made the difference in his last year of baseball… just think what Damon could do… as a Cub… that would be sweet…

Carrie Muskat wrote: “The Cubs would look to be in pretty good shape.” How so? Addition by subtraction? Who will play CF or RF? How about 2nd base? Baker couldn’t cut it in Colorado and the competition has located Fontenot’s weaknesses. How solid is that rotation looking beyond Zambrano & Dempster? Tell us about the middle relief, please. Other than Grabow, I see unproven commodities. Has Marmol truly proven to be a closer or was he just able to do it when the pressure was off because the Cubs were out of the race? Do you think that the Cubs will have a strong bench in 2010? Carrie, please share your honest insights with the rest of us.

Yes, the Cubs are better because Bradley is gone, so that’s addition by subtraction. Who plays RF? Fukudome. CF? I don’t know, but it’s Dec. 29 so there’s still time. Second? It could be a Baker-Blanco-Fontenot combo. The rotation will depend on Zambrano. He’s a Cy Young waiting to happen. Lilly may miss the first month, and that could hurt. Middle relief is young but the starters usually go deep. If Marmol doesn’t overthrow, he’ll keep walks down and be effective. There’s a lot of “Ifs” but there’s also time. What I meant by the Cubs being in pretty good shape is that if Soriano, Soto, Zambrano, Marmol, Dempster, Lee etc. have success, the Central is winnable.

Carrie… Thank you for your response and honest appraisal. That wasn’t so hard, was it? I find it hard to believe that Bradley was such a disruptive and negative member of the team to be labeled as the cause for so many of his teamate’s poor season. I can’t see how he caused Soriano to misjudge fly balls or swing at pitches well outside the stike zone, how he was the cause of Soto gaining weight and trying to play out of shape or how Lou was so focused on him that Lou could only manage to fill out a lineup card all season but not manage a game in progress. On the flip side, it doesn’t seem like any of the players or fans are shedding a tear that Bradley’s gone (including me). Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. In the Cubs case…. Where there’s smoke, there’s lack of focus.

First off…. to itzscott…… I have been trying to figure out how Soto could let so many balls past, and I think you answered that for me… I never check dudes out, but if Soto grew a belly, I could see where that would make it hard to reach around and make the catch.. and his speed would slow down too.. makes sense… get that fat boy doing some sit ups… send him home with Ramirez… something… Marshall has the goods to be a good stuff pitcher if he has a catcher that can catch.. but on the Bradley sentiment… I guess you never worked with a true A-hole before… You think about that jerk constantly… on the way to work and as you go in.. you play the “God, I hope I don’t run into him” game… and you always do… and it’s a good day if it wasn’t in the first hour of work… as compared to right away before you’ve had your tenth cup of coffee and 5 cigarette breaks in preperation of said a-hole…. Now that I look back, I didn’t even smoke till I met that guy and since I left, I quit smoking… what a boss to have.. anyway… You would be surprised at how a strong projected negative nasty personality can effect a group of happy successful people.. imagine yourself… you worked hard your whole life and found a spot on a MLB team… it’s your dream come true… and then Debbie Downer is over there in RF bringing you down… I bet there was a few parties on the night Silva was announced to become a Cub… Now this is all speculation.. I am not inside the Cubs organization.. I am just going by my own experiences…. But, heck yeah getting rid of the company A-hole can be good… and yes that A-hole could have caused a few missed catches, a eating disorder, and whatever else you claimed were flaws and mistakes… Soriano could have been day dreaming about what Milton said just before the game that pissed him off… and instead of reading the pitches to know what to expect next if it gets hit, he is thinking about putting some black in Milton’s eye or something.. you never know… but one thing is for certain… I haven’t heard anyone complain about Bradley leaving… I didn’t hear anyone say Bradley would be missed… maybe having the name of a board game maker and all the rediculing as a kid made for a jerk… and it’s not really Bradley but what they world has done to him…. who knows…. let’s play baseball… Why haven’t the Cubs signed Johnny Damon yet..

mhi2sense – I can see Bradley being the cause of a lack of focus for for a few games, but an entire season?? Come on! Also, Soto ate his way out of shape during the off-season and tested positive for pot during the World Baseball Championships… well before he even met Bradley in the clubhouse.

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