First things first, Andre Dawson as a Marlin never looked right... teal just wasn't his color.
I remember pulling this final tribute single out of a pack of 1997 Collector's Choice as a kid and being taken aback by it's oddity (of course, I can't find it now though - thanks for the scan, internet). Sure, the 1987 NL MVP had been moved on from Chicago for a few years and had already finished his not-so-notable, two-year stint in Florida to complete his career, at this point; nevertheless, "Awesome Dawson" as a Marlin was an incongruous sight... and still is.... and forever will be.
Here's Andre in his proper Cubs dressings; this is a much more familiar and comforting sight, courtesy of the 2012 team-issue set that the team put together with Topps.
That being said, Dawson has actually been employed by the Marlins for far longer than he was with the Cubs or the Expos, the teams he is most often associated with. After his retirement in 1996, the "Hawk" soon returned to the game with that Florida ball club as a special assistant, a position he held for two decades. It must have been hard to work that position when he was actually trapped in the Wrigley ivy:
Then Derek Jeter happened.
It's a time of transition for the now Miami Marlins - with Jeffrey Loria gone, the new ownership group has begun to shape the organization in their mold. Of course, one of their first moves seems like it was straight out of the haphazard Loria playbook. In October, they clumsily fired Dawson and several other longtime front-office assistants, only to rescind those firings shortly after. You might say that they were playing games with his heart, head, and paycheck.
Accordingly, here's a playing card oddball
Rumor has it, the assistants found out about their being jettisoned through the internet and Jeets and crew were trying to save face. Despite this feeble attempt, Dawson still elected to move onto greener pastures.
Today, we found out that those greener pastures are the green, ivy-covered walls of the Friendly Confines; word has leaked that Dawson has been welcomed back into the Cubs family as a special ambassador for the team with which he truly belongs.
The ivy may have trapped him for decades, but it sure looks good framing him.
He joins his former teammate and fellow Cooperstown resident, Ryne Sandberg, in the role.
The responsibilities of the special ambassador are not specifically laid out; however, one can easily assume that he will serve as a sort of mascot for the Chicago Cubs, making special appearances on behalf of the Cubs and generating goodwill in the fan-base. I guess he's like Clark the Cub for adults, except Andre will be wearing pants when he tours the city... at least, I hope he wears pants.
Are either of these last-place MVPS wearing pants? The world may never know for sure.
In celebration of the Hawk's return, I've elected to show off a few of my favorite Andre Dawson baseball cards because this is a baseball card blog, isn't it? Being one of the major stars on the roster during the height of the junk wax period and go-to legends for modern products, Dawson has plenty of Cubs cardboard to choose from. What you see in this post are my personal highlights.
This McDonald's oddball is the card that represents the Hall-of Famer in my Cubs All-Time Roster Collection binder. Unfortunately, by 1992 (the year which this card was issued), Baseball's Best no longer truly applied to the aging slugger as he entered into his final year on the Northside of Chicago.
Soon, it would be off to Boston and then to his long-term stay in Miami.
Welcome back to Chicago, Mr. Dawson. The Windy City is happy to have our Hawk back in the nest.