Dawson's request to change Expos cap on Hall plaque 'shot in the gut'

Andre Dawson's desire to have the cap on his Hall of Fame plaque changed from a Montreal Expos logo to a Chicago Cubs one was a "shot in the gut" for Perry Giannias.

The 69-year-old Dawson made headlines Tuesday when he told the Chicago Tribune that he sent a letter to Baseball Hall of Fame chair Jane Forbes Clark asking to change the cap. Having an Expos logo on his plaque is a decision he had disagreed with dating back to his entry into the hall back in 2010.

"Andre had made that clear back in the day when he got elected. But I thought it sort of passed. So when I read that article yesterday, I'm not going to lie, it sort of was like a shot in the gut," Giannias, the president of Expos Fest, a gala that celebrates the team's history, said on the phone from Montreal.

"Just reminded me that he had those feelings. So I guess they haven't changed and I understand. I've known Andre for a long time and sometimes, you know, when you get older, you want your legacy to reflect the way you feel. And I think that's what this is all about."

Dawson is one of three Hall of Famers whose plaques have an Expos cap, alongside former teammates Tim Raines and the late Gary Carter.

Carter expressed a desire to have a New York Mets cap on his plaque in 2003.

Players could make the decision through the 2001 induction, and the hall took over the decision ahead of the 2002 vote.

The change followed reports in 1999 that Tampa Bay offered to compensate the newly retired Wade Boggs if his plaque bore a Devil Rays logo. Boggs was inducted in 2005 and his plaque has a Boston Red Sox logo.

But Scott Rolen and Fred McGriff were apparently able to make their own choice when inducted earlier this year.

"While the Hall of Fame provides guidance to each new inductee as to which logo, if any, may be represented on the cap of his plaque, the Hall of Fame retains the final say," a spokesman for the Hall of Fame said.

"As a history museum, the plaque's historical accuracy is paramount, and that includes the logo is reflected on the plaque. All teams are listed in the text of the plaque."

Dawson spent the first 11 of his 21-year career in Montreal, where he enjoyed much of his success as a pro.

Between 1976 and 1986, Dawson was named National League rookie of the year and earned three of his eight career all-star appearances, six of his eight Gold Glove awards and three of his four Silver Slugger awards.

Dawson left for Chicago in free agency, where he spent six seasons. His stint with the Cubs was highlighted by his 1987 campaign, in which he led the NL in home runs and RBIs en route to winning NL MVP.

He then spent two years with the Boston Red Sox and two more with the then-Florida Marlins to conclude his career.

Giannias says Dawson's exit from Montreal may have a role in his desire to switch caps. Dawson has said he felt he was "forced out" of Montreal and had trouble finding a team in free agency in 1986, likely due to what was later ruled to be collusion among baseball owners to restrict player movement.

"I just know what everybody else knows, is the way he left the Expos," he said. "When you talk about the stars of the Montreal Expos, especially in the '80s, ... and in the 35 years (of their existence) in general, it's Andre Dawson, Tim Raines and Gary Carter, right?

"So, when Carter moved on, when they got rid of him, the prodigal son should have been Andre and the way they treated him during the collusion thing (Dawson , … that was really dirty. I don't know if somebody forgets that. Obviously, that plays a role in it.

"But I don't believe it's got much to do about that anymore, but just his love for Chicago, because Chicago embraced him, like right away and he's had a great relationship with the city ever since. So I think it's less of a grudge and more of an appreciation for his adopted city, he's an ambassador there."

— With files from The Associated Press.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2023.

Abdulhamid Ibrahim, The Canadian Press