Derek Jeter didn't make many enemies while playing shortstop for the New York Yankees for 20 seasons.
It's been a much different story in his less than two years as the leader of the Miami Marlins ownership group.
Since taking over the team in 2017, Jeter has garnered animosity through many of his business and baseball-related decisions. And one of those decisions may lead to two Baseball Hall of Famers boycotting Jeter's surefire induction during the summer of 2020.
Those two men are Andre Dawson and Tony Perez. Both were part of a group of special assistants, along with Marlins legends Jack McKeon and Jeff Conine, that were unceremoniously fired during Jeter’s first round of house cleaning. And both are still harboring ill-will over how the situation was handled.
Brewing Hall of Fame boycott
In an interview with Bleacher Report, Dawson confirmed he hasn’t forgiven or forgotten what transpired two years ago. As a result, he indicates he will be making other plans for next summer’s Hall of Fame weekend when Jeter’s induction is almost certain to take place.
"I sincerely doubt [that I will attend] at this point," Dawson told Bleacher Report last weekend, when the 2019 class was inducted. "All indications are likely not. ... I can't speak for Tony. But I don't have a sense or feeling like I want to sit on that stage to hear what [Jeter] has to say."
On the other hand, Perez wasn’t fully committed to skipping the event. But he also wasn’t shying away from the reason he’s considering it.
Perez told B/R that if he does boycott, he will not hide behind an excuse, such as feigning an illness. Instead, he said, he will tell the truth: That he is staying away because of Jeter.
"It wasn't nice, what happened at the end," Perez said.
‘I just felt disrespected’
After letting Dawson and Perez go, the Marlins received backlash from their own fan base and baseball fans in general. Shortly after, they offered both men a "make good" deal aimed at mending fences. The new offer was viewed as an insult because it slashed the group of legends salaries to $25,000 and blocked their access to the major-league clubhouse.
"For me it was more than insult personally the way everything was handled," Dawson said. "Even with the kind of offer they made going forward.
"I just felt disrespected, in a sense. I have a lot of pride. For me, that's kind of where I am with that whole process. It is what it is. I understand going forward it's a decision they made; it's their money, their team, but I've got to look out for my pride and welfare also."
It’s not difficult to understand why Dawson was hurt. His relationship with the Marlins dated back to his playing days. His final MLB appearance was in a Marlins uniform on Sept. 29, 1996.
After his retirement, Dawson accepted a position in the Marlins front office. He remained associated with the team until his firing in the fall of 2017.
All eyes on Derek Jeter
The 2020 Hall of Fame ceremony is set up to be the Derek Jeter show.
There are no doubts that he will be elected this winter when his name first appears on the ballot. The only drama will be whether he joins Yankees “Core Four” teammate Mariano Rivera as the only unanimous selections.
Regardless, Jeter will be the guy everyone is talking about, asking about and writing about. From the perspective of Dawson and Perez, that surely doesn’t sound very appealing. They wouldn’t have anything nice to say, so they’re better off not being there.
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