Florida Marlins outfielder Andre Dawson, who announced on Aug. 14 that this would be his final season, should be a Hall of Fame shoo-in. If he is invited to Cooperstown, the 42-year-old Hawk, who also played for the Montreal Expos, the Chicago Cubs and the Boston Red Sox, told Chicago reporters last week that he would wear a Cubs cap.
Such pronouncements have become old hat for Dawson. Asked in June 1993 which cap would appear on his plaque, Dawson, then with Boston, said, "Probably the Red Sox." But this year, only one week before a Florida road trip to Chicago, Dawson said he planned to be enshrined in a Marlins cap. When asked about his latest change of heart, Dawson said that the Chicago papers had misunderstood him and repeated his promise to wear the Marlins cap.
Dawson has been a model of class and professionalism throughout his 21-year career. He just needs to find the right way to cap it off.
An Iron Horseman
It's safe to say that no person has ever loved his or her sport more than Delvin Miller loved harness racing. The record shows that Miller, who died last week at 83, won 2,442 races and $11 million in purses, becoming the only professional athlete to compete in eight decades. More than that, though, Miller was Mr. Harness Racing, a driver, trainer, owner, breeder, track official and, most important, the sport's unofficial ambassador of goodwill. To promote harness racing, Miller traveled to Africa, Asia, Australia and Europe. He also talked such friends as Arnold Palmer and former New York Yankees stars Whitey Ford and Charlie (King Kong) Keller into investing in standardbreds, thus adding some celebrity appeal to the sport.
Miller won his first race in 1929, but his big break came in 1947 when he went to Lexington, Ky., to take a look at a pacer named Adios. At the time Adios was the property of Harry Warner, one of the original Hollywood studio moguls. Adios had good speed but the distressing habit of getting a big lead and breaking stride just before the finish. But Miller liked Adios's breeding, so, when Warner put him on the block, Miller mortgaged his house and scraped up the $21,000 sale price.
That turned out to be perhaps the best investment in harness racing history. In the 16 years that Adios lived after Miller bought him, he sired sons and daughters who earned close to $20 million. All told, Miller made more than $1 million off his original investment.
Despite his good work, harness racing today is practically moribund, but he never let that get him down. "The sport's been awfully good to me," he liked to say, "so I'll go out of my way to help it."
—WILLIAM F. REED