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Will Canadian Cap Hurt Dawson?

When it was announced last week that Andre Dawson would be going into the Baseball Hall of Fame with a Expos hat on, the man they call the “Hawk” let it be known that he thought it was a mistake.

Andre Dawson while with the Montreal Expos swings during a 1986 season game against the San Diego Padres at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, California.
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Andre Dawson while with the Montreal Expos swings during a 1986 season game against the San Diego Padres at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, California.

Whether the Hall’s decision to align him with Montreal will hurt him financially will be answered in time. Dawson played 10 seasons in Canada versus just six in Chicago. Cubs fans obviously are among the most rabid fans and love for baseball in Montreal has all but disintegrated since the team left town.

For now, at least, Dawson’s agent Warren Greene says it has all been positive.

“It’s too early to tell if we’ll see any effect,” Greene said. “I hope it doesn’t. He has let it be known that he wanted to go in as a Cub because of the love affair he has with the fans.”

Since being elected as the sole player in this year’s class last month, Dawson has been quite busy. He has signed at a Cubs fan convention and recently signed at a Tri-Star show in Houston before the cap decision was made.

“I don’t think it’s going to hurt him that much,” said Bobby Mintz, vice president of sales and celebrity relationships for Tri-Star. “It’s not like the people in Chicago who were going to book him for corporate functions will decide to ask someone else now. They know the cap decision wasn’t in his control.”

Mintz said that Dawson’s prices jumped from a high of $59 on an item to a high of $79 with news of his Hall of Fame nomination.

Brandon Steiner of memorabilia company Steiner Sports disagrees with Mintz.

“Unfortunately, hats do matter,” said Steiner. “Look at Dave Winfield, who went in as a Padre instead of a Yankee. That really hurt his business.”

Steiner said that great stats or a great moment can neutralize a negative associated with the logo on a Hall of Fame hat. That’s why Gary Carter still does well, Steiner reasons. Carter was inducted as an Expos player despite his success – which included a World Series with the Mets.

“He won it all with the Mets,” Steiner said. “He was dominant at his position. I’m not sure Andre has a moment we’ll all remember. He doesn’t have a title, he doesn’t have 3,000 hits and he doesn’t have 500 home runs.”

Greene says he has some 50 proposals on his desk for Dawson, ranging from autograph and licensing deals to speaking engagements.

“We’ve been approached by a new baseball hat company, a beverage company that has a legends series and a vitamin and mineral supplement,” Greene said. “At 55, Andre is probably in better shape than anyone.”

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