So writes Phil Rogers at Chicago Breaking Sports:â†µ
The late Buck O’Neil played an instrumental role in sending some great players to the Cubs, including Ernie Banks, Lou Brock and Lee Smith. He could have had another huge find had then-GM John Holland and scouting director Vedie Himsl followed another of his recommendations.â†µ
O’Neil regularly scouted Florida A&M and knew all about his potential. He even had the Rattlers’ head coach move Dawson to shortstop at one point during the season for an audition as a middle infielder – "I hurt my arm throwing sidearm,‘’ Dawson said – and pushed the Cubs to selected Dawson, according to some interviews. But Himsl had used the second pick of the ’75 draft on Lee Smith, another O’Neil recommendation, and decided not to give him two picks in the top 10.â†µ
Beyond that, the Cubs organization in the late Wrigley years didn’t do very well with its prospects. Dawson might have wound up traded out of the farm system. Instead, he was taken by the Expos in the 11th round, and his Cubs years had to wait more than a decade.