Cubs legend Andre Dawson wins inaugural Curt Flood Award from MLBPA
When Andre Dawson and his agent Dick Moss approached then-Cubs general manager Dallas Green with a blank check in 1987 it forever changed the landscape in the player-owner relationship in baseball.
MLB owners had previously colluded against the players, refusing to offer free agents contracts unless it was from their previous team. Dawson’s team, the Montreal Expos, offered Dawson a $1 million contract. Instead, Dawson signed for $500,000 with the Cubs to be able to play on the natural grass at Wrigley Field as opposed to the AstroTurf in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium because of his past knee injuries.
That act was honored by the MLB Players Association on Thursday, awarding Dawson the first ever Curt Flood Award. The award is given to a former player “who in the image of Flood demonstrated a selfless, longtime devotion to the players’ association and advancement of players’ rights.”
“I look at this honor, and it’s, it’s pristine in a sense and it’s an accolade that I put up there with anything that I’ve ever achieved in this game because of what it represents and the player that it’s named after,” Dawson said in a video posted on the MLBPA’s Twitter account. “Thank you very much to each and all of the players for nominating me, Andre Dawson for the very first Curt Flood Award.”
MLB Players have voted to honor Hall of Famer Andre Dawson as the first ever recipient of The Curt Flood Award for his selflessness and longtime devotion to the Players Association and advancement of Players’ rights.— MLBPA (@MLB_PLAYERS) October 22, 2020
Thank you and congratulations, Andre! pic.twitter.com/S00DYfbUro
Dawson went on to win the NL MVP award in his first season with the Cubs, hitting 49 home runs and 137 RBI. Dawson hit 174 home runs, 587 RBIs, earned five All-Star nods and two Gold Gloves in his six seasons with the Cubs on his way to being inducted into Cooperstown in 2010.
“No player in baseball history worked harder, suffered more or did better than Andre Dawson,” former Cub Ryne Sandberg said in his 2005 Hall of Fame speech. “He’s the best I’ve ever seen.”
Curt Flood, who died in 1997, was a three-time All-Star and two-time World Series champion with the Cardinals. In 1969, the Cardinals traded Flood to the Phillies. Flood refused to report to Philadelphia and unsuccessfully sued to strike down baseball’s reserve clause. He lost the case in a 5-3 Supreme Court vote in 1972. The reserve clause was eventually struck down in December 1975 by arbitrator Peter Seitz in the Andy Messersmith-Dave McNally grievance.
Related: A conversation with Andre Dawson on the Cubs Weekly Podcast