I knew Andre Dawson was from Miami and I knew that, following retirement, he worked for the Marlins for years until he was dismissed this past offseason. I assumed that, being a club ambassador aside, like most Hall of Famers he had a pretty easy retirement, signing autographs, collecting personal appearance fees and, perhaps, dabbling in this or that investment. Maybe real estate. Maybe golf courses. Maybe a bar or a restaurant.
Had that wrong. From Bob Nightengale of USA Today:
Dawson, who for 21 years was one of the most dynamic players in baseball, winning one MVP in Chicago and finishing runner-up twice in Montreal, has gone from the ranks of the enshrined in Cooperstown to the ranks of the embalmers in a land where many go to die.
Dawson and his wife of 40 years, Vanessa, own and operate the Paradise Memorial Funeral Home in Richmond Heights, Fla.
It’s not just an office job or an investment for Dawson. As Nightengale explains, The Hawk is 100% hands-on in the business, transporting bodies, planning funerals, consoling families and even cleaning the toilets and mopping the floor. He does everything but the embalming. The work, he describes, is too important to not be 100% invested in it. The community of Richmond Heights too important to him not to take it 100% seriously.
I have admired Andre Dawson more than almost any other player since I began to learn about him back in the 1980s. My admiration for him has only grown over the years.
A fantastic read about a fantastic man. Set some time aside for it today.