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.
Barring physicals and roster reshuffling, the Yankees and Reds are all but ready to finalize a deal involving right-hander Sonny Gray, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday. The exact return has not been confirmed, but Heyman hears that the Yankees will receive top infield prospect Shed Long and a draft pick in exchange for Gray, with an as-yet unnamed third player possibly involved as well.
According to several reports earlier in the day, negotiations came down to the wire as the Yankees first had their eye on the Reds’ no. 6 prospect, 22-year-old catcher Tyler Stephenson. The Reds ultimately elected to hang on to Stephenson and send Long to New York, as they currently have a greater need for catching depth and weren’t expected to be able to provide a full-time role for the infielder in 2019. Long, 23, is ranked seventh in the Reds’ system and appears to be nearing his MLB debut after batting .261/.353/.412 with 12 homers and a .765 OPS across 522 PA at Double-A Pensacola last year.
Gray figures to step into a prominent role within the Reds’ rotation, which is likely to be a mix of recently-acquired left-hander Alex Wood and right-handers Tanner Roark, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Tyler Mahle, among several others. Despite Gray’s struggle to remain productive on the mound — he’s three years removed from his only All-Star campaign and turned in a disappointing 4.90 ERA and 2.16 SO/BB rate in 2018 — he might yet help stabilize a team that trotted out the fifth-worst rotation in the majors last season. If, on the other hand, the veteran righty finds the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park a little too unforgiving this year, the Reds can take some comfort in the fact that he’s due to enter free agency in 2020.