Andre Dawson came to a brutal Chicago Cubs team, became a fan favorite

(Photo by Owen C. Shaw/Getty Images)
(Photo by Owen C. Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs / Andre Dawson
(Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images) /

How did the Chicago Cubs get the All-Star Andre Dawson from the Expos?

Granted free agency in 1986, Dawson went to Cubs management and made them an offer they couldn’t refuse: pay me a base amount, include a few incentives and I’ll come play for the Cubs. Dawson took a $500,000 pay cut because he wanted to play on a natural grass field and the particular field he wanted to play at was the Friendly Confines.

Cubs fans embraced their new right fielder immediately. He quickly became one of the most popular players because everyone could see that Dawson committed himself to excellence in everything he did. It didn’t hurt that he won the league’s MVP honors in 1987, his first year with the Cubs.

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He did this with a team that lost 85 games, fired its manager Gene Michael, and finished last in the Eastern Division. Their general manager for the last six years, Dallas Green, resigned in October.

Dawson, of his own accord, asked to join a team that had been 70-90 the year before. That alone is a remarkable occurrence as there were many other teams courting him. Playing for the Cubs in 1987 he proceeded to put up staggering numbers for a Cubs team that went 76-85, finishing sixth in the Eastern Division. Just imagine how bad they might have been had Dawson not voluntarily joined them.

Dawson played 153 games that year, while such other Cubs stars as Ryne Sandberg, Jody Davis and Shawon Dunston, all played fewer than their usual numbers of games. The 1987 team’s second-leading RBI man behind Dawson’s 137 was Keith Moreland with 88. Moreland had led the club with 79 RBI the year prior. But an indication of how bad the 1987 Cubs team was is that after those two we drop precipitously to Leon Durham’s 63.