Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

Johnny Damon: Hall of Famer? Not for me


Johnny Damon during his Boston reign. Photo unknown via

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.)

Written by Todd Boss

April 17th, 2012 at 6:58 pm

5 Responses to 'Johnny Damon: Hall of Famer? Not for me'

Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to 'Johnny Damon: Hall of Famer? Not for me'.

  1. Yeah, I’m pretty sure the Neyer piece is a spoof. Still, if the league gave annual awards for funniest quotes, Johnny would have won it every year and made it to Cooperstown on the first ballot.

    A favorite of mine was when Manny Ramirez tested positive for PEDs when he and Damon were with the Rays. Johnny told the press “You know how in the movie ‘Rock Star’ Mark Wahlberg walks off the stage and says I got to (go to the bathroom) and never comes back? I had no reason to think it, but I just knew that I wasn’t going to see him again.”


    18 Apr 12 at 9:56 am

  2. No argument from me. It’s amazing how quickly his defense went bad. ‘Steep decline’ is not a strong enough phrase.

    Mark L

    18 Apr 12 at 1:03 pm

  3. Agree on his defense. He can still hit the ball well enough, though. Some of the local media here in Tampa were surprised that the Rays didn’t bring him back because, let’s face it, the Rays need the dudes. Their hitting is awful.


    18 Apr 12 at 3:21 pm

  4. He should be in the perfectly acceptable player hall of mediocre. You nailed it on the head. He is a decent ball player but if Andy Van Slyke, Dale Murphy, Don Mattingly and others aren’t in there is no way in hell Damon should be.


    19 Apr 12 at 4:53 pm

  5. Oh and by no means do I think the 3 players I listed above should be in, just that he isn’t as good as they were at their peaks and none of them are in so neither should he.


    19 Apr 12 at 4:55 pm

Leave a Reply