Thursday, July 1, 2010

Andre Dawson Tribute

Tonight, July 1st, the Lakewood BlueClaws will host 2010 National Baseball Hall of Fame honoree Andre Dawson. (Tickets available here) The man known as "The Hawk" will throw out a ceremonial first pitch and sign autographs for phans in attendance through out the game.

Friend of PhoulBallz, Jenn Fink, wrote the following piece about her childhood love of Dawson and the time she spent bonding with her father over the national pastime, baseball.


Jenn and her dad at The Field of Dreams site, circa- back in the day


As a product of the 1980's, I had many favorite baseball players. I grew up a New York Yankee fan (thanks to my cousin) but have always had a sweet spot in my heart for the Philadelphia Phillies. However, my favorite player was not a Yankee or a Phillie, it was an Expo/Cub/Red Sock/Marlin….Andre “The Hawk” Dawson . Growing up, my family lived about 30 minutes from Philadelphia (on a good day) and my parents would take me to as many Phillies games as they could afford. Every year I would beg, plead, and promise to do my chores twice as well IF my parents would take me to The Vet to see Andre Dawson play. And my Dad came through, every time. Sometimes the games were during the week and I would have to promise to get to school on time the next day…which I gladly did just to have the opportunity to see Andre in action. I would sit on the edge of my yellow 700 level seat, watching him glide across The Vet “carpet” and swing the bat so effortlessly. It was pure joy and many times my poor father was the one who would have to hike down the stairs to get food because I did not want to miss a second of the game. Who knew if Andre would make a great catch or would end up batting in the half inning? It was too much of a risk my 8 year old brain could take.

Some of my favorite memories I have with my father were the times he would load us into the car and drive us to beautiful Philadelphia Veterans Stadium for games. Most times I wore my Phillies hat and studied the yearbook that I would carry with me to every game, but on those days the Cubbies came into town, I wore my All-Star #8 jersey and my Cubs hat. In 2003, the year The Vet closed, I wanted to take one last trip down memory lane with my Dad. So we went to The Vet to see the Cubs play in July. I made sure we sat near right field, since we usually sat there when the Cubs were in town. It was a great game and we talked about watching Dawson patrol the outfield and how he could gobble up anything hit into The Vet corners. It was a wonderful moment and a great day watching the baseball game with my Dad. I was glad we had that opportunity because he never was well enough again to go to the new Phillies stadium.

So thank you Andre Dawson and thank you Philadelphia for giving me so many great memories with my family, particularly my Dad. It has been a great few months for me since the talk leading up to his induction has made me reach back into my memories and remember how much fun I had going to games at Veterans Stadium with my family. Even though I won’t be able to watch the induction with my Dad this year, I know he’ll be sitting next to me on the couch in spirit. I have so many great memories of our talks about baseball, the Phillies and Andre Dawson that I often look back and smile. To me Dawson's induction is long overdue, but I guess someday is better then never at all.


A little Phillie-Dawson connection:

Dawson hit 3 home runs against the Phillies on August 1, 1987. Two off of Tom Hume and one off of Mike Jackson.
Andre led the Expos to their first ever post-season win: beating the Phillies which the Expos went onto win the series 3-2.
But a more notable achievement was on September 13, 1976: Dawson got his first Major League hit off of Steve Carlton at The Vet. In 1997, his final year of playing, I was at the Phillies/Marlins game where they honored him with a plaque at The Vet commemorating the event. As Andre toured the Hall of Fame recently, he stopped at Steve Carlton’s display, paused and talked about his first hit. Smiling, he said, “I think it was the first pitch. He was the toughest left-hander I ever faced.” Quite a compliment from a guy who played for 20 years.

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