Two things came to light as the 2012 season kicked off back in March, and both of them revolve around the same player: Johnny Damon. The first being whether or not anyone was going to sign the 17-year veteran, and the second being whether or not he has the credentials to make it to the Hall of Fame. For the Cooperstown question, there really isn’t an easy answer to throw out unless you break down Damon's career by the numbers.
Well, here are the numbers (and by now you should all know that I love to talk about stats): two All-Star appearances, two World Series rings (Red Sox in 2004 and Yankees in 2009), 2,730 hits, 231 home runs, 1,122 RBIs, 1,647 runs scored (33rd all time), 517 doubles (42nd all time) and 404 stolen bases (65th all time). Through Sunday, he is a career .285 hitter.
Based on what I’m seeing, I’m going to give Damon an ardent no. I suppose you could take the hits into consideration, but even at that, there are plenty of guys who have been more deserving and done more with a lot less who aren't enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Dale Murphy is one example. In a recent interview with the New York Times, Damon was adamant about deserving a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame, highlighting his doubles, runs scored and stolen bases. Well, based on his all-time spots, which I listed above, I don’t really feel that they’re much to sniff at.
However, if Damon is able to get those extra 230 base knocks over the next two seasons, my opinion would change drastically.
Damon, even at 39 years old, can clearly still play at a high level and has done well doing so over his career. Now in his 18th season as a fill-in for the injured Grady Sizemore, he can try to make a push for the Hall in the time that he has. If Damon can continue to play to the best of his abilities then he can change the minds of shrewd critics like myself. That will be the only way he gets my vote.
Do you think Damon is a Hall of Famer? Tweet us your take @MLBFanCave.