Inducted in 2010, Andre Dawson became the first Hall of Famer ever to have played for the Florida/Miami Marlins franchise.
Dawson finished his career with 438 career home runs, eight All-Star Game appearances, eight Gold Gloves, four Silver Sluggers and one National League MVP. Dawson spent the final two seasons of his 21-year career with the Florida Marlins.
On this day 25 years ago, he hit the final home run of his career. He did so as a member of the Marlins in a 6-0 shutout of the Houston Astros.
The Marlins were going for the three-game sweep of Houston as the teams met at Joe Robbie Stadium on Sept. 22, 1996. Dawson didn’t get the start and had only one at-bat, but he made it a memorable one.
Florida led 3-0 as Dawson came to bat in the eighth inning. Houston’s Xavier Hernández retired Devon White and Joe Orsulak to start the inning, but a single by Kurt Abbott and a walk to Charles Johnson brought Florida to the pitcher’s spot in the order.
Up came Dawson.
Ahead in the count 3-1, Hernández threw “The Hawk” a high fastball. Dawson lined a no-doubter well into the left-field stands for a three-run homer to double the Florida lead to 6-0.
Prior to Dawson’s blast, all three runs for the Marlins came in the first against Houston starter Darryl Kile. Gary Sheffield’s sacrifice fly got the scoring started before Greg Colbrunn singled home Edgar Renteria. Colbrunn would come around to score on an Orsulak triple.
Kile settled in to work six strong innings for the Astros, but Rick Helling had the best outing of his career for the Marlins. Helling issued just a hit and two walks in eight shutout innings.
The blast for Dawson would put the game out of reach. It served as only his second blast of the season, but the 438th and final homer of his career. It came on this day a quarter-century ago.