Below is a special contribution from a member of the FansEdge team, Daniel Bressler, and without further ado:
My second contribution to the FansEdge Blog is overdue, but Iâ€™m happy to be back! Great timing on my partâ€¦two big names in baseball made headlines in less than 48 hours.
Randy Johnson retires
On January 5, 2010, legendary pitcher Randy Johnson announced his retirement form baseball. The â€śBig Unitâ€ť left baseball on his terms â€“ as a 46-year-old with 303 wins and 4,875 strikeouts, second in MLB history behind Nolan Ryan. Only Roger Clemens boasts more Cy Young awards than Johnson. Having spent most of his career with the Seattle Mariners and the Arizona Diamondbacks, he features a blazing fastball with a vicious slider. Standing 6â€™10, he was an intimidating force on the mound. In a league dominated by right-handed hitters and lefty switch-hitters, he is considered one of the greatest southpaw pitchers ever.
And who can forget his moustache and mullet? Johnson played with the Montreal Expos, Mariners, Houston Astros, Diamondbacks and New York Yankees before ending his career with the San Francisco Giants in 2009. Fans also remember Johnsonâ€™s ineptitude at the plate. He may have dominated the mound, but he was a wimp in the batterâ€™s box, struggling to maintain his career .125 batting average, and striking out in nearly half of his plate appearances. Lanky and awkward, his batting stance resulted in easy strikeouts and laughs from the opposition. But those smiles quickly turned to frowns in the next half-inning. Johnson held opponents to a .221 avg. â€“ eighth all-time. For years, fans learned the devastating effects Johnsonâ€™s 97 mph fastball on his opponents. But in 2001, the public found out what it could do to a living animal. It was a routine pitch that never reached the plate â€“ intercepted by a bird, instead. The pitch knocked the feathers â€“ and the life â€“ from the bird. R.I.P. dove, we hardly knew ya. There is no doubt Johnson will make baseballâ€™s Hall of Fame â€“ weâ€™ll just have to wait 5 years. The clock is now ticking.
Andre Dawson is enshrined in the Hall of Fame
Finally, we can stop hitting the snooze button for Andre Dawson. On January 6, 2010 â€“ on his ninth try â€“ Dawson was voted into the Hall of Fame. Dawson â€“ receiving over 77% of the vote (75% is required) â€“ will be the lone player inducted, while Bert Blyleven, Barry Larkin, Roberto Alomar, and others must wait.
Known as a hard worker, Dawson covered center and right field and spent most of his career with the Montreal Expos and Chicago Cubs. He is one of three MLB players to have hit 400 home runs and stolen 300 bases in a career â€“ joining Willie Mays and Barry Bonds. He was named National League Most Valuable Player in 1987 when he hit 49 home runs and 137 RBIs.
Boasting eight All-Star appearances, eight Gold Gloves, four Silver Sluggers and being named the 1977 Rookie of the Year and 1987 MVP, Dawson quietly became one of the most decorated baseball players. His hits and RBI totals approach or exceed many Hall of Fame hitters, including Mike Schmidt, Reggie Jackson, and Cal Ripken, Jr. Dawson, having never reached a World Series, never had his Kirk Gibson moment, but enjoyed a fantastic career.
If anyone ever questioned his love for the game, Dawson quickly settled that discussion in 1987. Despite setting franchise records with the Expos, Dawson dreamed of playing for the Cubs. So much so, that he signed a blank contract and allowed the Cubs to fill in the amount â€“ resulting in a drastic pay cut.
Dawson also played for the Boston Red Sox and Florida Marlins. He stayed in Miami, as a member of the front office, and received his first World Series in 2003, which included an epic 7-game NLCS â€“ against the Cubs.
Congratulations to Andre Dawson for being inducted into the Hall of Fame and to Randy Johnson for retiring after two dominating decades!
In related news, Dawson has announced that he signed with Dreams, Inc. (the parent company of FansEdge) to handle the selling of all future memorabilia and merchandise. In addition, FansEdge will operate his official website. Look for more memorabilia from Dawson on FansEdge and our sister site, Pro Sports Memorabilia, in the upcoming months!