Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
Here’s a fun exercise for you. Go to your favorite statistical website, and pull up the list of players in baseball history who have had over 2500 hits, 500 doubles, 100 triples and 200 home runs. On that list, you will find eleven players. The first ten, including the likes of Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Lou Gehrig and George Brett, are all Hall of Fame players. The eleventh player on the list? Johnny Damon.
Yes, former Kansas City Royals outfielder Johnny Damon is a member of such a hallowed group. Perhaps best remembered for his time with the Red Sox, where he helped bring a championship to Boston for the first time in 86 years, Damon had a better career than one may have thought.
Overall, during his 18 year career, Damon posted a .284/.352/.433 batting line with 2769 hits, 522 doubles, 109 triples, 235 home runs and 408 stolen bases. His impressive batting statistics were accomplished in 2344 games, less than all but four other players on that list. Yet, despite his excellent production over his career, Damon only made two All-Star games and never finished higher than 13th in the MVP ballot.
Add in that Damon won two World Series, including that one in 2004 to break the “Curse of the Bambino,” then his case may gain some traction. Voters like postseason heroics, as those playoff feats have helped players like Jack Morris get far more support than deserved. Could the same happen for Damon, and his already solid case?
If the underappreciated Johnny Damon gets into the Hall of Fame, he likely would not be wearing a Kansas City Royals hat. He would, however, be the fourth player affiliated with the team to be enshrined.
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