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2017 Cubs Spring Training Countdown: Day 8

In which we honor one of the most popular Cubs of recent times.

Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Andre Dawson spent just six years with the Cubs, and had most of his best seasons with the Montreal Expos, whose cap he wears on his Hall of Fame plaque.

And yet, he’s beloved by many Cubs fans. Much of this likely has to do with the way he came to the team, offering to sign a blank contract because he so much wanted to play at Wrigley Field -- and then, he had an MVP season his first year there.

Knee injuries from the hard turf he played on at Olympic Stadium for a decade took away a lot of Andre’s speed, and likely kept him from an even better career than he had. What if he’d been picked by the Cubs and played his whole career at Wrigley? He was the Expos’ 11th-round pick in 1975. The Cubs (and all other teams, obviously) passed on him 10 times. The Cubs’ 11th-round selection that year, made six picks ahead of Montreal’s, was this guy, who gave the Cubs... not much. (To give you a further idea of how bad Cubs scouting and drafting was back then, of the 29 picks the Cubs made that year, only one played in the major leagues: Lee Smith.)

So, I’m taking this opportunity to salute Andre. Though he moved back to his native south Florida and is working in the front office of the Marlins, he’ll always be a Cub.

No. 8 will be worn this spring training by non-roster invitee Jemile Weeks, a former first-round pick of the A’s who appeared to be a promising prospect. Injuries have wrecked Weeks’ career, but he’s got a shot at hanging around at Iowa this year in case the Cubs need a middle-infield type as an injury fill-in.