Q&A With Andre Dawson
Eight-time All-Star chats with MLB.com during FanFest
DETROIT -- Andre Dawson, an eight-time All-Star, finished his career with 438 home runs, 1,591 RBIs and 314 stolen bases. He complemented his offensive production by winning eight Gold Gloves in a distinguished career that took him to Montreal, Chicago, Boston and Florida.
In 1987, Dawson smacked 49 home runs and drove in 137 runs for the Cubs, becoming the first player in baseball history to win the Most Valuable Player Award as a member of a last-place team.
"The Hawk," now a special assistant to Marlins president David Samson, spoke with MLB.com on Sunday morning at FanFest.
Any particular players or matchups you're looking forward to on Tuesday? Or anyone hitting in the Home Run Derby?
Well, in the sense that [the Derby format has] changed, it probably won't have a lot of the flair it's had in previous years. But it should still be exciting. Probably be a toss-up this year.
As far as the matchups, I'm kind of excited that a good friend of mine, Derrek Lee, is in the All-Star Game. And hopefully, his shoulder's feeling a lot better where he can be out there. [There's] Dontrelle Willis, who I'm associated with now with the Florida Marlins. So, you have not your picks or favorites, but people that you follow, people that you're close to. You want to see them do well.
When you played, when it got to be around June, were you following the box scores, comparing your stats with your peers, wondering if you'd make the [All-Star] team?
You were really hopeful that you did enough to make the team. You don't really watch the box scores. Usually, you know, once you get in, it's hard to be unseated, because all you've got to do is be consistent. But once I did finally make an All-Star team, I was probably just starting to get at the top of my game.
It's something that you strive for. Not [during] early Spring Training, but once the season starts, it's just an honor and a thrill to get that far to be there. Once you make it a few years -- four or five years -- it gets to be an old habit, but you still look forward to it.
Do you think it's fair to decide home-field advantage for the World Series in an exhibition like this?
Well, I think it needs another format. It needs to be devised, of course, because even though now the focus is on the manager trying to win the ballgame, you still want to get all the players in ... let them get a feel for it if they never played in an All-Star Game.
A lot of the players really don't take it that seriously. They kind of don't put forth that extra effort, because they don't really want to succumb to any injury or anything. It's really all in fun. And even though you really don't want to make a poor showing out there -- you do take the game seriously -- so much focus and emphasis from a managerial standpoint is placed on trying to win the ballgame.
With the Nationals' great start, do you ever get sentimental for the old Montreal Expos?
You've got to feel sorry, but, you know, it's a business. It's a situation now where these guys are in a stadium, and they're ... not moving all over the place.
You hate to see a city lose a franchise. ... I don't think it's really good for the game, but the game has to go on. It's a business. It's a business move, and it's worked out real well for the city of Washington, D.C.
Ryne Sandberg enters the Hall of Fame this summer. Do you ever wonder if you [will] have a day in Cooperstown?
I feel that eventually it will happen. You know, it's probably just a matter of time. I've caught up in a period where there are so many great ballplayers who are on the ballot. And Ryno is an ex-teammate of mine, perhaps one of the finest second basemen during his era. And I'm happy for him. I'm going to go up and see his induction. One of these years, it might happen. I just hope it's not too long.
(Note: Dawson received 52 percent of the 2005 Hall of Fame vote in his fourth year of eligibility.)
Patrick Mooney is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.