Andre Dawson spent 21 years in the Major Leagues, splitting his time with the Expos (11 seasons), Cubs (6 season), Red Sox (2 seasons) and Marlins (2 seasons).
Despite four below average seasons to round out his career, Dawson managed to retire with a .279/.323/.482 slash line, which is good for a 117 wRC+. He earned 59.5 total WAR, was an All-Star eight times, won the NL Rookie of the Year award in 1977 and the NL MVP ten years later (with the Cubs). He’s an eight-time Gold Glover, a four-time Silver Slugger, and, of course, a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Oh, and he’s been the owner and operator of the Paradise Memorial Funeral Home in Richmond Heights, Florida for the past ten years. Yep:
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) May 9, 2018
Your “must-read” of the day today comes from Bob Nightengale of USA Today, who chronicles the post-playing career of a former Cubs star, Andre Dawson, in a very unusual business.
The call was urgent, and the emotions raw, when three businessmen pulled into the Little Havana neighborhood in the early afternoon, rang the doorbell, and solemnly walked into the home to get the dead body.
A man directed them to the bedroom where his father had just passed away. He looked up twice and stared intently through his glassy, reddened eyes, as his face contorted in an odd mixture of grief, confusion and thrill.
“The Hawk?’’ he blurted out.
“Yes,’’ Andre Dawson said, “that’s me.’’
Although I found this story to be a little unusual at first, I actually landed on something closer to wholesome just half-way through. According to many, “The Hawk” doesn’t advertise that he is the owner of the funeral home – most don’t ever find out – and he still does most of the hard work.
“On a given day,” writes Nightengale, “you’ll see Dawson driving one of the five black hearses or limos, carrying a casket, consoling families to even mopping floors on nearly an everyday basis. He does everything but embalm the bodies in the holding room.”
As I’m sure you can imagine, this isn’t much of a money-grab for Dawson – who not only earned roughly $27M throughout his career, but who could also, like many other former MLB stars, monetize his name in much more lucrative ways. Instead, Dawson simply sees his work as meaningful: “I wanted to make this as good a facility as I possibly could, and I’m proud of it. It’s important to me because this is a product the community needs.”