This Sunday, power-hitting outfielder Andre Dawson will earn his induction into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. To many, Dawson is best known for his 438 career home runs, 314 stolen bases, and 1987 MVP Award.
However, from a sports law perspective, Dawson is also important for having signed a blank contract with the Chicago Cubs during the 1986-87 off-season--an act that helped to expose Major League Baseball's collusive practices during that era.
According to labor arbitrator George Nicolau's 1988 arbitration ruling, he notes that Dawson was so willing to leave the Expos during the collusion era that he called a unilateral press conference to announce he would sign a blank contract to play for the Cubs. Embarrassed by these events, Cubs management then offered the all-star outfielder a contract for $500,000—almost half of his previous season’s salary.
After accepting this 50% pay cut, Dawson won the 1987 National League MVP for the last-place Cubs--becoming the first play in baseball history to win that award for a last place team.
(Cross-posted on SportsJudge Blog)