For Black History Month, we will spotlight some of the greatest athletes in Historically Black College and University History. Today we spotlight a player who flew under the radar but eventually became “The Hawk.”
Andre Dawson was born in Miami, Florida where he played high school Baseball and Football. A knee injury during his senior year caused scouts to worry. He didn’t receive a scholarship from the University of Miami and Florida State. However, Dawson eventually played for the Rattlers of Florida A&M University and legendary Head Coach Costa “Pop” Kittles. His time at FAMU led to Dawson being drafted by the Montreal Expos in the 11th round (pick #250) of the 1975 Major League Baseball draft.
In his first season, Dawson had a .282 batting average with 19 home runs and 21 stolen bases and won the 1977 Rookie of the Year. Dawson’s blend of speed and power wowed the Canadian crowd but after 10 years, he came back to the states and joined the Chicago Cubs where we would make unique history.
While the Cubs were not the most stellar franchise in 1987, Dawson hit 49 home runs. While the Cubs record was a last-place 76-85, Dawson’s season was good enough to win the National League MVP. Dawson became the first player to win the award for the league’s best player on a last-place team. Dawson played five more seasons with the Cubs and was one of the franchise’s most popular players during that time.
Dawson was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010. He is one of only 2 HBCU players in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Dawson’s career achievements including:
8× All-Star (1981–1983, 1987–1991)
NL MVP (1987)
NL Rookie of the Year (1977)
8× Gold Glove Award (1980–1985, 1987, 1988)
4× Silver Slugger Award (1980, 1981, 1983, 1987)
NL home run leader (1987)
NL RBI leader (1987)
Montreal Expos No. 10 retired
Also, a annual collegiate tournament spotlighting HBCU Baseball players was renamed the Andre Dawson Classic, in his honor.
Source | Black College Nines