With recent news that Johnny Damon has convinced another team (for 2012 its the Cleveland Indians) to give him more at-bats so that he can continue his march towards the magic 3,000 hit plateau, and with today’s Rob Neyer column that already assumes Damon is a hall of famer and asks, “Which cap will be on his Cooperstown plaque,” I have this to say:
How is it possible that Johnny Damon is a hall of fame player?
Here’s a few metrics for you:
- All Star Apperances: TWO! Two times he’s been considered amongst the best 60 or so active players.
- Top 5 MVP votes: Zero
- Top 10 MVP votes: ZERO
- Top 20 MVP votes (as in, one of the 32 writers involved threw him a 10th place vote here and there): 4 times.
- Career OPS+: 105. As in, compared to his fellow players he’s only about 5% better at the plate.
- Career OPS: .789, below the .800 line of respectability for modern day hitters.
- Defensive awards: Golden Gloves and Silver Sluggers: Zero.
I’m sorry, but in what world is this a hall of fame career? Damon is the epitome of an accumulator, averaging nearly 700 plate appearances and 188 hits per year over his career and staying relatively healthy (never playing less than 140 games per year since his debut in 1996). 105 OPS+! If he was a gold-glove calibre middle infielder maybe that’d be acceptable, but he’s a sub-par defensive outfielder who has never sniffed a defensive award.
I also go back to my tried-and-true argument related to All Star appearances and MVP voting; how can a player possibly be considered one of the greatest players of all time if he rarely, if ever, was considered one of the best players of his own time, on a year to year basis? Great players earn all star appearances even in down years, while middling players never earn them.
For everyone who has vehemently argued against Jack Morris, essentially on the strength (weakness) of his career ERA (and by implication, ERA+) … I wonder who hypocritically is arguing FOR Damon. Oh wait; Rob Neyer is.
Am I crazy? Who out there thinks that Damon is worthy of a copper plaque in Cooperstown?
(caveat: after reading the comments in the Neyer article, it occurred to me it was possibly a spoof. As in, an entire tongue-in-cheek article. If so, my reading comprehension skills are at fault and I rescind this criticism.)