Johnny Damon (1995-2000) ranks No.5 on our historic KC Royals Speedster list.
Although some know him better as a World Series Champion with the Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees, Damon started his excellent career as a Royal. He played in five seasons for the team before being traded away to Billy Beane’s “Moneyball” Oakland Athletics in 2001.
Damon stole 156 bases during his tenure with Kansas City and was caught 42 times. His 46 stolen bases in 2000 led the American League, outdistancing Roberto Alomar, who stole 36 for the Cleveland Indians.
According to a Sports Illustrated piece written by Rick Reilly in 2005, Damon claimed he could reach 25 miles per hour:
"“I think I can run about 25 miles per hour, top speed…Sometimes I actually pass cars on Boylston [Street]…They realize they’re in the company of either a great athlete, or a criminal running from something.”"
While we only have Damon’s self-estimate for this, he was the runner-up in his high school track team’s 200-meter dash, and The Orlando Sentinel’s Jeff Babineau noted in 1991 that Damon twice clocked 6.33 in the 60-yard dash.
Though it is bittersweet that Damon’s success and big league time was spent more on other teams than in Kansas City, there’s no doubt he was a true speedster that fit the Royal way. And while a few notable KC Royals missed out on our Top 5, Johnny Damon managed to make the fifth spot.
Who will the speediest Royal turn out to be? We’ll reveal him, and Nos. 2-4, in Part 2.
There you have them: the Honorable Mentions for our Top 5 KC Royals speedsters, and the fifth best selection. Watch for Part 2, in which we’ll reveal the top 4 picks. It’s coming soon.