1. Andre Dawson, Outfielder — MLB, Montreal Expos and Chicago Cubs —Florida A&M
Kids who played little league baseball in the 1980s in the Chicago area often were reprimanded by their coaches for trying Andre Dawson’s iconic batting stance. In addition to having one of the most memorable batting stances in MLB history, “the Hawk” was one of the great five-tool players of his generation.
Dawson could hit, field, and run. He was one of only two players with at least 400 home runs and 300 stolen bases when he retired. “If Andre didn’t have bad knees, he would have finished with 600 home runs and 500 stolen bases,” said former teammate Shawon Dunston.
Dawson’s knee injuries (he would have 12 knee surgeries during his 21-year MLB career) did not stop him from having a Hall of Fame career.
Desire and determination are the tropes of Dawson’s career. Born in Miami, Florida, a lanky, young Dawson went undrafted and walked on at Florida A&M, working hard for coach Costa Kittles to earn a scholarship. Dawson would earn a scholarship and lead the Rattlers to one of its best eras of baseball. During his time in Tallahassee, the future Hall of Famer would help build the FAMU program into a national powerhouse.
Dawson led FAMU to three victories over the Miami Hurricanes and was among Division II leaders in doubles and slugging as a senior during his senior year. That got the attention of the former Montreal Expos (now the Washington Senators) who would draft Dawson in the 11th round.
That began a 21-year journey towards Cooperstown with determination and desire.
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