Johnny Damon

August 17, 2011 · 0 comments

in MLB

A 17-year veteran, Johnny Damon has had a long and fruitful baseball career. Most likely his numbers and accolades will shock you, as much as a man that looks like Jesus should. After starting his career in Kansas City, and a short stint with the A's, Damon found himself as an iconic piece of the 2004 Boston Red Sox World Series Championship team. He won another ring with the rival Yankees (yay free agency!), and since has bounced around to Detroit and Tampa Bay. Approaching the sacred 3,000 hit mark, Hallornohall.com offers insight to Caveman's possibility of having a bronze Jesus to call his own.

Career Statistics (through mid-2011)
G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BA OBP SLG OPS
2388 9394 1623 2688 507 105 225 1098 396 .286 .353 .434 .788
Awards
  • 2 All-Star Selections (2002, 2005)

Hall

by Matt Thompson

Straight out of the heart of Orlando (where I am from), the pride of Dr. Phillips High School is one Johnny "I might be Jesus but they call me Caveman" Damon. This was a truly tough call. But to be upfront, I don't consider a player's career length unless there was a consistency of "above good, almost great play." I also don't buy into winning World Series Championships after a long drought. Yes, I am glad the 2004 Boston Red Sox got a 900-year monkey off their back, but just because Damon was an iconic player on that team does not mean an automatic Hall vote.

I assume Damon has two more years left before he calls it quits. Damon will most likely finish with:

BA H 2B R SB
.280 - .285 2,800 - 2,900 550 1,750 400

Looking at accolades, this is where Damon falls drastically short. Assuming he plays two more years and does not improve, Damon only has two All-Star appearances in 19 years of service while never finishing higher than 13th in MVP voting. Although not an outfielder, when I think of long-tenured, "above good, almost great" players, Craig Biggio comes to mind. Biggio was a 7-time All-Star and finished fourth and fifth in MVP voting in 1997 and 1998, respectively. Biggio's numbers are also better:

BA H 2B R SB
.281 3,060 668 1,844 414

Damon also wasn't known for a special talent (other than his hair) like Ricky Henderson or Lou Brock. However if you go way, way back you can see he has better numbers than a Richie Ashburn. When looking at left fielders, you may be able to state a case against Billy Williams who had an 18 year career. In major statistical categories, this is how Damon's projected numbers stack up:

Player H R HR BA RBI 2B SB
Damon 2,900 1,750 245 .283 1,200 550 400
Williams 2,711 1,410 426 .290 1,475 434 396

And that is where it gets interesting. He has better numbers than Ashburn and is on par or slightly better in most statistical categories than Billy Williams. Being an OF in the steroid era most likely meant you were being overshadowed by steroid-infused players where HR and RBI got them into the All-Star game or MVP voting.

For this, Johnny Damon deserves to be in the Hall. I predict Damon getting in Burt Blyleven style in the 11th hour, but he will be in the Hall nonetheless.

No Hall

by Isaac Rickert

Johnny Damon was originally drafted by the Royals in 1992, moving up to the majors in '95 and quickly became one of my favorite players. In KC, he was part of one the youngest and most productive outfields in the majors with Jermaine Dye and Carlos Beltran. However, it wouldn't last. He was traded to the Athletics and then signed with the Red Sox.

He was always considered lovable, but once he made his way to a larger market, he pushed his way over the top. He helped give the 2004 Red Sox the lovable nickname, "The Idiots,"--a team of pranksters who were fun loving and slightly crazy with their off-the-field antics. And did I mention that he decided that he wanted to win a Jesus look alike contest during that time too?

But being a giant fun loving goofball doesn't make you an immediate lock for the Hall. He has to have some stuff. He has two World Series Championships with two different teams and 2 All-Star appearances. However, he never finished higher than 13th in the MVP voting. Also, he was never the best player on his team or was the player that pushed the BoSox or Yanks over the hump. However, he was always a consistent and extremely productive player.

Take a look at his career stats so far. Pretty good stats. Considering he spent a good amount of time as a lead-off hitter, those numbers look even better. But we have to have a comparison. For measurement purposes, let's use Ken Griffey Jr., a terrific outfielder. In 22 seasons, several of them shortened by injury, The Kid hit:

BA H 2B HR RBI R SB
.284 2,781 524 630 1,836 1,662 184

The two played different styles, so maybe a better comparison is Ricky Henderson. He hit:

BA H 2B HR RBI R SB
.279 3,055 510 297 1,115 2,295 1,406

Roughly the same, sans stolen bases and runs.

But here's my deal. I love Johnny. He's hilarious and an overall good dude. He played in a tainted era and, as far as we know, played clean. He has two rings, but he was never the reason for them. His stats are up there, but he was never the best dude on the field for his team. He flew under the radar, played good defense until his age caught up with him, but he couldn't crack top 10 in voting for MVP.

Johnny could make it in. But I think people will remember the Red Sox and Yankee runs in 2004 and 2009 and make small footnotes to him as opposed to other players/stars. Johnny is a "No Hall" for me.

Johnny Damon: Hall or No Hall?

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