Wednesday Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame welcomed its lone inductee, former Rattler Andre “The Hawk” Dawson. Dawson, who will be presented with a commemorative plaque during ceremonies in Cooperstown, N.Y., July 25, will be the only player inducted this year.
FAMU’s baseball head coach Robert Lucas said he was excited to hear that one of his former players will become a member to the Hall of Fame.
“He was a special baseball player,” Lucas said. “He was the whole package. He did all the things I thought he should do as a collegiate player.” Lucas was an assistant coach when Dawson played for the Rattlers from 1973 to 1975.
Dawson, a Miami native, was a player at FAMU under legendary baseball coach Costa “Pop” Kittles. He was known for hitting home runs all the way across Wahnish Way to the Gaither Athletic Center. He led the Rattlers in home runs, hits, doubles and RBI’s as a sophomore and junior (1974, 1975).
Rattler Field was located at the current site of the new Al Lawson Multipurpose Center, during the time Dawson played at FAMU.
Dawson was drafted by the Montreal Expos following his junior year in 1975 and spent 11 of his 21 major league seasons with the Expos (now the Washington Nationals).
Dawson impressed the baseball world in 1977 when he became a starting centerfielder for the Expos, despite only playing in 24 major league games in 1976. During this season he was named the National League Rookie of the Year after batting .282 with 19 home runs and 65 runs batted in (RBI). He was awarded the Most Valuable Player award in 1987 after leading the league with 49 homers and 137 RBI’s.
Dawson was a player with multiple talents having a mixture of power, speed, and run producing ability. He hit 20 home runs in his seven seasons with the Expos as well as and stealing 20 bases.
He was also a standout defensive player gaining his first of eight Gold Glove Awards in 1980. As an Expo, Dawson set single-season club records for home runs 32, RBI’s 113, extra base hits 78 and sacrifice flies 18. He holds the Expos career record for sacrifice flies 71, and is the only player to hit 200 home runs and steal 200 bases.
Dawson left the Expos, signing as a free agent with the Chicago Cubs in 1987. As the Cubs star right fielder he won the National League MVP Award after hitting 49 home runs and driving in 137 runs and was selected to the 1987 National League All-Star team. This was one of his 8 All-Star Game appearances (1981, 1982, 1983, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991).
Dawson went on to play for the Red Sox 1992 and finished his major league career with the Florida Marlins in 1996 with 438 homers (36th All-Time), with 1,591 RBIs and 314 stolen bases. He is currently one of only three players in major league baseball history to hit 400 home runs and steal 300 bases, joining Willie Mays and Barry Bonds.