Anticipation of the inevitable almost got the best of Andre Dawson.
As his beloved Chicago Cubs scratched tooth an nail back from a 3-1 deficit to force a Game 7 in last year’s World Series, Dawson stayed up to date — almost to the point where he felt his actions were jinxing the club.
“Honestly, I was kind of on the edge myself,” he said. “(Because of potential promotional obligations with the Cubs if they won), I didn’t want to pack beforehand because I didn’t want to jinx them.”
However, as the storybook ending Dawson — and the throngs of Cubs faithful nationwide — had hoped for came to fruition, the 62-year-old found the energy in the wee hours of that October night to leap off his couch in jubilation. “‘We did it!’ I yelled … not ‘They did it,’ but ‘We did it!’ ”
Though in an ambassador role these days with the Miami Marlins, Dawson’s influence still most resonates with fans of the Chicago Cubs. With that in mind, dozens of the club’s fans lined up for autographs with the Cubs legend, along with an opportunity to take photographs with the team’s 2016 World Series trophy on Friday as part of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans’ Cubs-A-Palooza celebration.
A brief Q&A session with Dawson kicked off the event at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark on Friday, with other events including a meet and greet with fellow Cubs legend Bill Buckner the following evening.
Despite playing for three other baseball clubs — the Montreal Expos, Boston Red Sox and Florida Marlins — during his 21-year career, the member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame is known most for his six seasons with the Chicago Cubs.
Standing in the shadow of Wrigley Field’s wall of ivy, Dawson earned his place in franchise lore as a five-time all-star and two-time Gold Glove winner. In 1987, he was named the National League’s Most Valuable Player after hitting 49 home runs — a league high — and leading the Cubs to the postseason.
Dawson finished his career with 2,774 hits, 438 home runs and 314 stolen bases. He is one of only eight players to hit at least 300 home runs and steal 300 bases.
Hours before gates to the ballpark opened, fans clad in the familiar blue, red and white of the Cubs were lined up in anticipation for the night’s activities. The throng only grew as the night waged on, with a line wrapping around the stadium’s lower bowl seeking to score a few moments with baseball royalty.
“Everywhere I go around the country (Cubs) fans are excited, ecstatic,” Dawson said. “I’ve done a lot of promotions, and from a personal perspective in the Midwest. Whenever I encounter Cubs fans, it’s all the same.”
While his focus is largely on helping the Marlins achieve success, Dawson said he remains a fan of the Chicago Cubs, tracking their every move.
“Like any other fan, you kind of see what kind of moves they’ve made during the course of the offseason, how different the team is going to be in that particular season,” Dawson said. “… If you wore that uniform, you had to be on the edge of your seat (during the 2016 World Series). This was a window of opportunity for them, especially since everything came so easily for them.
“(The World Series title) touched a lot of people in a lot of ways, because the Cubs have a huge national following. Now, there is no ‘wait till next year.’ They have the horses to do it, and Cubs fans are the greatest.”