Results tagged ‘ Andre Dawson ’

This Week in 1987: The Cubs sign Dawson’s blank contract


After the 1986 season and 11 major league years playing at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium, Andre Dawson was tired of the wear and tear the merciless artificial turf was placing on his knees. While working on a deal with former Cubs General Manager Dallas Green, Dawson and uber-agent Dick Moss visited Cubs Spring Training camp in Mesa, Ariz., with a proposal. Dawson ignited a media firestorm when he presented Green with a signed contract and said he would play with the Cubs for whatever salary the GM felt was appropriate.

On March 6, 1987, the North Siders inked a deal with Dawson worth $500,000, well below market value for a player of his caliber. The outfielder went on to win the NL MVP, a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger that season, leading the league in home runs and RBI. The Hawk spent the next six years with the Cubs, making five All-Star appearances during that stretch.

In 2010, the eight-time All-Star was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

1000 Words: 25 years ago this month

What year is it? The October 1987 cover of Vine Line featured Cubs outfielder and eventual NL MVP Andre Dawson. In his first season with the Cubs, the Hawk hit .287/.328/.568 (AVG/OBP/SLG), and led the NL in home runs (49) and RBI (137). He also won a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger.

Seventh-inning stretch lineup

Jay Cutler and Khalil Bell of the Chicago Bears both gave memorable seventh-inning stretch performances over the weekend. If you’re headed out to Wrigley for the three-game set with the Marlins, here’s your seventh-inning stretch lineup:

  • Tuesday, July 17 – Jim Belushi / actor, Chicago native
  • Wednesday, July 18 – Andre Dawson / Cubs great, Hall of Famer and State Farm ad star (First Pitch: Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis / actors, stars of the upcoming film The Campaign)
  • Thursday, July 19 – Gary Sinise / actor and Chicago native

While you’re at the park, pick up the July issue of Vine Line, detailing the fans’ picks for the greatest Cubs players of all time at each position.

Coming Up: Seventh-Inning stretch singers as Cubs host Marlins

Gary Sinise sings the stretch in 2006. (Photo by Stephen Green)

Here’s a current listing of the seventh-inning conductors for this week:

  • Thurday, July 14. Patrick Stump / Musician, Fall Out Boy and Gym Class Heroes
  • Friday, July 15. Barry Weiss / Star of A & E’s “Storage Wars”
  • Saturday, July 16. Andre Dawson / Hall of Fame Outfielder
  • Sunday, July 17. Gary Sinise / Actor

Cubs fans: If you missed out on Vine Line’s first-ever Music Issue, make sure to grab your copy for just $4 at Wrigley Field. It’ll only be available at the ballpark through the end of July!

Vine Line EXTRA: October 2010 sneak peek

01_VL_1010.p1.pdf.r72.jpgThe October issue of Vine Line, being mailed out right now, is an issue you won’t want to miss.

Editor Michael Huang sat down with general manager Jim Hendry to ask him the questions fans are clammoring to know: What moves does Hendry plan to make in order to avoid completely rebuilding? How does he evaluate the progress at the minor-league level? What does he think of Mike Quade’s performance in the manager’s seat?

The story gives a lot of insight into where the Cubs are headed this off-season.

You’ll also find recaps of the Andre Dawson and Billy Williams ceremonies held at Wrigley Field over the past few weeks, including exclusive photography from Stephen Green. And if you’ve ever been interested in knowing how the pros chart pitches from scout’s row, you’ll find a Cubs CrossOver walking through the fundamentals and purpose of logging every pitch a Cubs hurler throws.

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1000 Words: Dawson bows back

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A time-honored tradition returned last night, as Andre Dawson and the rightfield bleacherites salaam each other. And “The Hawk” gave another touching speech to Cubs fans, again naming Wrigley Field the place he considers home.

At home with Andre Dawson: 1987

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Thumbnail image for 1000 WORDS LOGO.jpgYesterday was a historic day for former Cubs outfielder Andre Dawson. He finally was enshrined into the National Baseball Hall of Fame after being eligible for the past nine years. His baseball career has finally come home.

However, in December of 1987, Vine Line captured what life is like for Andre Dawson at home. Just months after his mammoth NL MVP season, Dawson invited staff photographer Steve Green to document his life with wife Vanessa for one weekend at his home in Miami. Green was able to capture the essence of the All-Star outfielder–his work ethic, his interests outside of baseball and his motivations to be the best.Green was the proverbial “fly on the wall”, observing Dawson while he worked out, and while he visited his grandmother’s grave.

Vine Line offers some of Steve Green’s most intriguing images from his visit:

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Dawson 2.jpgGreen witnessed first-hand Dawson’s complete dedication and famed work ethic. Despite knees ravaged by injury and the brutal effects of playing 11 seasons on Astroturf, and in the pre-bodybuilder age of baseball, Dawson still easily was one of the best-conditioned players in the major leagues. “

The man wan’t about fancy stuff,” Green said. “He was into body-weight resistance and cutting up, not bulking up.”

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A the gravesite of his grandmother, Eunice Taylor, Dawson and wife Vanessa freshen up some flowers.

“It was real respectful,” Green said. “It’s where he got his motivation and fortitude. He grew up not in a really great area. So she kept him on the straight and narrow.”


Dawson 3.jpg
Dawson 6.jpgDawson even did some gardening and even engaged in one of his favorite hobbies–coin collecting. But Dawson said he wanted to be a Cub, and the fans welcomed him with open arms.

“He wanted to come to the Cubs. He loved the experience at the ballpark,” Green said. “He wanted the exposure because he felt like he didn’t get that in Montreal. He had become a star, hero over night. Harry [Caray] had touted him. He became an icon.”

–Mike Huang




Vine Line Extra: The 10th Inning with…Lin Brehmer

 In the April edition of Vine Line, we debuted a back-page column called “The 10th Inning with….” which offers fan perspectives from the outside looking in. The fans are mainly celebrities or prominent personalities around Chicago giving their impressions on all things Cubs. 
    We’ve received a nice amount of positive feedback on the column and hopefully it will appear every other month, alternating with “Stretching Out with…”
    Popular WXRT Radio on-air personality Lin Brehmer was nice enough to volunteer his services as our inaugural columnist. He has been a die-hard Cubs fan since 1984, when he moved to Chicago. Here is his story:

Lin Head Shot.jpg   Cubs fans come from every corner. They grow up at the corner of Southport Avenue and Irving Park Road, and come back to discover a post office where their houses used to be. They grow up on the farms of Iowa, where the crackle of a transistor radio transports them to another world. My collision course was nothing short of providential.
   Raised in a region where the pinstripes were of a different color, four brothers from Oak Park, Ill., introduced me to the lineup of Kessinger, Beckert, Williams, Santo, Banks, Hundley, Altman and Phillips. We roamed the asphalt schoolyards of New York looking for a game. Playing stickball, Joel, Adam, Benji, D.K. and I would take turns being the Chicago Cubs or the New York Yankees.
   In 1970, we started the Cleo James fan club for the unheralded and unloved Cubs outfielder. This past October, 38 years later, Benji sent me an official looking document that reads:

“For Lin Brehmer: Founding Member and President-for-Life of THE CLEO JAMES FAN CLUB. In honor of, and appreciation for, Mr. Cleo James, Outfielder, Chicago Cubs (1970-1971).”

    And then there’s an anonymous quotation: “He won some, he lost some, but he suited up for them all.” In the middle of the document in a protective plastic sleeve is a baseball card of good old number 24. On the back of the baseball card we learn that Cleo’s hobby was table tennis.
    I first arrived in Chicago in 1984 on the promise of World Series tickets.
    Perhaps, I was naive.
    1984. The year of nicknames. Sarge. Ryno. Penguin. The baseball world was giddy with talk of the Cubs that summer. It was the season that Whitey Herzog, the eminence grise of the Cardinals, called Ryne Sandberg the greatest player he’d ever seen.
    My job interview was grueling. I spent the summer eating stuffed pizza and watching the Cubs. By September, I was hunting for a place to live. Tooling around the North Side in a borrowed Mazda, I drove to the corner of Clark and Addison and stopped.
 I am not a casual baseball fan. As a skinny pre-teen, I was a fire-balling southpaw for such teams as Lazar’s Kosher Meats, Gerard Towers, and the star-crossed Michael C. Fina Jewelers.
    In 1971 and 1972, I was the MVP of my high school baseball team. When Rotisserie Baseball was invented at the start of the ’80s, I immediately took my team, Brehmer’s Bombers, to the cellar. I’ve coached youth baseball for six years.
    So that first view of Wrigley Field might as well have been accompanied by a cinematic choir of angels or by the sonorous voice of James Earl Jones summoning me, “Lin Brehmer, this is your destiny.”
    The Cubs did not go to the World Series in 1984. I know because I watched Game 5 against the Padres in my landlord’s apartment right beneath my own on the 3700 block of N. Wayne Avenue.
    And a strange fever grew. 
    Living four blocks from Wrigley Field, I spent the next few baseball seasons in the right-centerfield bleachers with Marty, Mars, Wendy, Norm and Sara.
    My apartment window had a sign in the window that read “No Lights In Wrigley Field,” and as soon as lights were installed, we protested by buying a night game/weekend season ticket package. Aisle 239. Row 4.
    ‘ve been to 28 out of the last 29 Opening Days. My mental scrapbook holds many images: Mark Grace’s torrid postseason run in ’89. Gaetti’s home run in the ’98 one-game wild-card playoff. The nine-run comeback against the Rockies in the summer of ’08.
    And my favorite moment of all: Andre Dawson’s final home game in ’87. That was the year that Dawson offered the Cubs a blank check for his salary and won the MVP for a last-place club.
    All season long the bleachers would pay tribute to Dawson’s unrelenting commitment by bowing to him as he jogged out to rightfield. Andre Dawson was cut from different marble than most media-savvy ball players of the modern era. He was as stoic a presence as I have ever seen in a major-league outfield.
    On that last day, Dawson hit his 49th home run. When he trotted out to his place, he faced the bleachers for the first time, raised his arms in the air and bowed repeatedly to the fans. The gesture was so out of character that it spoke to the man’s caliber.
     I have watched the Cubs now through my son’s eyes. He went to 15 games before he was 1 year old. As a toddler, he ran up the ramps and then down the ramps. He watched the “El” from the rightfield corner. And one afternoon I looked to my left to see him with a pencil in his hand, peanut shells scattered on an open scorebook, writing 6-4-3 DP. A Cubs fan born and bred. A kid gathering stories to pass on to another generation. A young man who will understand there is no winning without losing.
    Robert Browning, who knew nothing of baseball but much of human nature, once wrote, “That heaven should exceed a man’s grasp or what’s a heaven for.”
    Every year, I take a magic marker and draw an X through the month of October. That’s because I plan on being at Wrigley Field through the end of that month.

Lin Brehmer has been the morning disc jockey at 93XRT since 1991. He first came to the station in 1984 so he could go to the World Series at Wrigley Field.

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