All you ever wanted to know about Andre Dawson is in his Hall of Fame speech from July 2010:
I didn't play this game with this goal in my mind, but I'm living proof that if you love this game, the game will love you back.
And I am proof that any young person who can hear my voice right now can be standing here, as I am. Like most of us up here, by the age of eight, I was using a busted broom handle for a bat and using rocks as a ball and by then I knew I was born to play this game. I dabbled in other sports, sure -- my knees are proof of that -- but baseball was my love. And baseball is where I belonged. And I found out quickly that if you love this game, the game will love you back.
It's still a great game, too. It bothers me when I hear people knock the game. There's nothing wrong with the game of baseball. Baseball will from time to time, and like anything else in life, fall victim to the mistakes that people make. It's not pleasant and it's not right. Those mistakes have hurt the game and taken a toll on all of us. Individuals have chosen the wrong road and have chosen that as their legacy. Others still have a chance to choose theirs. Do not be lured to the dark side. It's a stain on the game, a stain gradually being removed.
But that's the people, not the game. There's nothing wrong with the game. Never has been. I think people just forget why we ever got involved in the game in the first place. When we were nine and ten years old, we just loved playing the game. What we found was that if you put your heart into this game, if you love this game, the game will love you back.
That's why I made it here and anyone who can hear my voice right now can be standing here, as I am.
Look at me and these incredible men who make up the Hall of Fame. They are proof of that. There are many of us up here who had nothing, who came from nothing, who wondered if nothing was all there ever was. But look at us. There is hope. But you can't get here by skipping school or disrespecting your parents or your teachers or your coaches.
And you can't get here by dropping out of society. You can't get here if you believe you have nothing to lose out on the streets. You have everything to lose. But in this game you have everything to gain. A lot of kids feel abandoned, and I understand that. Some of us know what that feels like. It's a tough road and it's unfair. But feeling sorry for yourself isn't going to save you. Baseball can. Baseball can be your salvation. I am proof of that. And if you can hear my voice today, you can stand here, just as I am today.
As my grandmother used to say, "Take God with you. Get on your knees and believe it. Be thankful of the blessings before you receive them. If you can get left behind or you can get on board."
Love this game and the game will love you back.