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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Johnny Damon Tells MLB Network He Prefer to Enter the Hall of Fame as a Royal

Ha! He better not try to pay his way in dressed as Royal Dano. I’ll tell you that!

Tonight on MLB Network Johnny Damon did a pregame interview with Matt Vasgersian. The interview touched on the end of Damon’s career, and if he ever thinks about getting close to the Hall of Fame. Transcribing loosely, the following exchange took place:

  Vasgersian: I know you don’t get to decide, but if you did, whose cap would you be wearing if you went into the Hall of Fame?

  Damon: Well, it’s a tough decision… four years in Boston… four years in New York… five and a half years in Kansas City. And if you go by the numbers, that’s where my best years were.

I’m sure this will invite some debate about whether or not Damon is or should be a Hall of Famer and probably some will be angry that he didn’t give the boring answer of “well, I have to get there first.” Fine.

 

Repoz Posted: July 21, 2011 at 11:34 PM | 124 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame, history, media, television

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   101. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: July 22, 2011 at 10:55 PM (#3883528)
He is? By what standard? I mean, we all know him, but we're not exactly typical fans. Is Damon any more famous than any other player who has played for 15 years?
Well this is obviously subjective and I can't point to any evidence.

But feel free to make the case that Bobby Abreu, Edgar Renteria, Miguel Tejada (15 seasons), Todd Helton (15), Scott Rolen, Orlando Cabrera (15), and maybe even Omar Vizquel and Jim Thome, are as well known to a casual fan as Damon.
   102. Something Other Posted: July 23, 2011 at 01:11 AM (#3883656)
He made it patently clear long before he was FA eligible that he was gettin' the H-E-double-toothpicks outta Dodge as soon as he was free to do so.

Not that anyone can blame him. Its pretty clear that Damon staying in KC does not turn that franchise into a successful one.
Sure, we can blame him. I thought it was understood that Damon made no bones about being a mercenary, which is part of the reason no one seems to give a genuine #### about the greedy little bastard.

I mean, it's just ####### impolite, is what it is. The Royals are like that certain kind of woman from an out of state college you meet at a party Friday night and sleep with. You both know you're smooching her goodbye as you tuck her into her car on Sunday and that's going to be that, but unless you're a boor you don't spend a whole lot of time talking about the better looking, rich babe you're going to be screwing after she's out of your life.

I'm kind of curious how Damon gets to 3,000. He's an old guy without power or a super-high batting average. He needs two more years beyond this one of teams accepting that from their DH, which seems unlikely to me. Otherwise, he's going to have to compile his numbers from some cobbled-together reserve assignments, in which case his remaining skills might go dry before he reaches the milestone.
Yeah. For all the interesting discussion, he's just not going to get there. He's got literally no cushion, no margin for error at all. He loses a step or gains ten pounds or his vision deteriorates minutely and he's out of baseball. If we figure he's going to miss a few more games next year and the year after Damon needs to otherwise remain exactly the player he is until he's 40. How many merely good players do that? If I knew how I'd punch in all the guys like Damon and probably find that one in twenty are still playing productively at the beginning of their age 40 season.

edit: ok, the poor man's version is the BBRef sim scores. Four of Damon's peers actually do hit enough to get Damon to 3,000 if they were in his place, assuming he gets another 50-60 hits this year. That's a lot better than I thought it would be.

editedit: interesting. ALL of the guys who played after their age 37 season were hanging on by their fingertips. I think there were one or two good seasons between all of them, but it was generally pretty ugly. I guess if Damon is willing to play for next to nothing and accepts a reduced role, precedent says he has a real shot at the brass ring.
   103. Srul Itza Posted: July 23, 2011 at 03:16 AM (#3883710)
He is still putting up value, given the reduced offensive environment -- but I wonder if that will be recognized?
   104. Famous Original Joe C Posted: July 23, 2011 at 03:16 AM (#3883712)
How many OF are there in history who made the Hall of Fame without ever putting up a 120 OPS+ season? Even Brock had four of those.
   105. Darren Posted: July 23, 2011 at 03:20 AM (#3883716)
The Royals are like that certain kind of woman from an out of state college you meet at a party Friday night and sleep with. You both know you're smooching her goodbye as you tuck her into her car on Sunday and that's going to be that, but unless you're a boor you don't spend a whole lot of time talking about the better looking, rich babe you're going to be screwing after she's out of your life.


You're Erik Kuselias, aren't you?
   106. Darren Posted: July 23, 2011 at 03:22 AM (#3883717)
How many OF are there in history who made the Hall of Fame without ever putting up a 120 OPS+ season? Even Brock had four of those.


And they weren't as good as Damon's best year.
   107. LargeBill Posted: July 23, 2011 at 04:03 AM (#3883725)
If he gets regular enough playing time for two more seasons he will knocking on the door of 3,000 hits. People can argue all they want about the quality of his career, but there is more than one path to Cooperstown. Some guys have extremely high peaks and last a long time. Those are men like Mays, Ruth, Aaron and Musial. There are other guys who do one thing very, very well but they don't last long enough to reach career milestones like Ralph Kiner. Other guys don't set seasonal records and their peak isn't very peaky, but every time their manager writes out a line up card the player is healthy and ready to play. Health and durability is a skill of sorts. Reaching 3,000 hits means you showed up ready to work day after day, year after year. Ask any manager and he'll tell you that is valuable to the team. No, reaching 3,000 will not make Damon comparable to Ruth or Mays, but it will make him an eventual Hall of Famer.

There was another thread implausibly arguing that Keith Hernandez should be in the Hall of Fame. Well, after his age 33 season he never played 100 games in a season. Doesn't matter if one thinks Hernandez is better than Damon if he is in the trainers room instead of on the field. From what I can remember he signed for big bucks with Cleveland then quit. Call Damon a mercenary if you want but after he takes the money Damon shows up and plays.
   108. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: July 23, 2011 at 04:50 AM (#3883734)
Other guys don't set seasonal records and their peak isn't very peaky, but every time their manager writes out a line up card the player is healthy and ready to play. Health and durability is a skill of sorts. Reaching 3,000 hits means you showed up ready to work day after day, year after year. Ask any manager and he'll tell you that is valuable to the team. No, reaching 3,000 will not make Damon comparable to Ruth or Mays, but it will make him an eventual Hall of Famer.
"Every time... is healthy and ready to play"? Have you confused Johnny Damon with Pete Rose or something? Er, not that Rose is actually in the HOF, obviously, but he would have been. On the other hand, players whose careers are like Johnny Damon's do not make the HOF. There may be "more than one path," but Damon's isn't one of them.
   109. AROM Posted: July 23, 2011 at 05:55 AM (#3883751)
I'm shocked Damon never put up a 120, he's hit .300 several times, takes 60-70 walks per year, and gets a decent number of extra-base hits. His best years have been in excellent hitting environments though. He's been in the 115-118 range 6 times.
   110. bjhanke Posted: July 23, 2011 at 10:14 AM (#3883773)
AROM brought up something very interesting several comments ago. He mentioned that Lou Brock's bad defensive rankings derive mostly from making lots of errors; that his range was average (which is a knock, since he was fast enough that it should have been above average). I thought about that, since my awareness of baseball goes back to 1954. I have no memory, ever, of anyone taking serious notice of any outfielder's error totals. Not Lou Brock, nor anyone else. I don't mean that no one noticed when an outfielder made an error. I mean that no one seemed to keep track of which outfielders made how many. Lou caught some flak in STL for having a weak arm, but not for making errors with it. And there is no one else I can think of. It may be like hitter's double play totals. People didn't keep track of them, either, and I think the reason may be, in both cases, that the raw numbers are not high. DPs get into the 20s, and OF errors get into the teens, but those seem like small numbers over a season. Certainly, each DP or OFE is very bad, but I think most people just don't think that there are enough of them to make a big difference. Also, it's not as if you're comparing someone who hit into 25 DPs or made 15 OFE with someone who didn't make ANY. No, the difference between a good DP total and a bad one is maybe 15, and in OFE, it 's probably fewer than ten. And that would imply that sabermetrics has made a serious contribution here, in showing that these things are so bad that even a small difference between one player's totals and another's is significant. Like I said, interesting. I do know that even current baseball players discount DPs. Albert Pujols is hitting into a lot of them this year (the main thing wrong with Albert's hitting is that he's hitting into too many ground balls, and as hard as he hits a ball, a grounder with a man on first is a DP if an infielder gets to it). He's threatening some sort of record, and actually said in the newspaper that he's happy with having the record. It strikes him as fun. Now, Albert is a VERY competitive ballplayer. If he thinks that DPs are no big deal, I would imagine that's pretty common among players. OFEs are even more obscure. Interesting, and weird. And doomed, as well, because sabermetricians aren't going to shut up about DPs or OFEs. - Brock Hanke
   111. Something Other Posted: July 24, 2011 at 01:15 AM (#3884053)
He is still putting up value, given the reduced offensive environment -- but I wonder if that will be recognized?
Good point, and it probably won't be recognized. He'll instead be viewed as in decline.

How many OF are there in history who made the Hall of Fame without ever putting up a 120 OPS+ season? Even Brock had four of those.
Yeah--there's just no lustrous peak there. Only one season over 5 wins, and in that one Damon only got 40% of his value from hitting.

The Royals are like that certain kind of woman from an out of state college you meet at a party Friday night and sleep with. You both know you're smooching her goodbye as you tuck her into her car on Sunday and that's going to be that, but unless you're a boor you don't spend a whole lot of time talking about the better looking, rich babe you're going to be screwing after she's out of your life.
You're Erik Kuselias, aren't you?
Had no idea who he was before your peculiar post. He seems to indulge in the opposite of the sort of gentlemanly (at least, gentlemanly in the context of having sex with strangers) behavior I described.

@110: I dunno, Brock. I seem to recall that in the 70s, errors of any stripe were a big deal. If a player made a lot of them, the consensus was he was a bad fielder or, at best, a compromised one. It overrode everything else.
   112. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: July 24, 2011 at 02:05 AM (#3884104)
How many OF are there in history who made the Hall of Fame without ever putting up a 120 OPS+ season? Even Brock had four of those.


Lloyd Waner for one. Fun fact. Waner hit .362 in 1930, and it was good for a 94 OPS+.
   113. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: July 24, 2011 at 03:02 AM (#3884139)
For all the interesting discussion, he's just not going to get there.
He's more likely than not to fall short, sure. But for a guy who is still a regular, still hitting fairly well and is only a little more than 300 hits away, this is needlessly dismissive.
   114. Something Other Posted: July 25, 2011 at 03:45 AM (#3884544)
Hardly "needlessly". Guys who are barely regulars at 37 rarely hang around until they're 40, particularly when they haven't played regularly in the field for a couple of years, and even then were unimpressive corner OFers. The burden of proof is on those who want to think Damon's going to get to 3,000, and I took my best shot at showing he had at least some chance at it in a very recent thread. Sorry I can't find the link.

The guys on the list I noted didn't stay in the league because of performance, they stayed because (as implied by being on the list in the first place) they're durable and because they had reputations. Damon doesn't have, say, Brock's or Rose's reputation, and he doesn't have a history with a team like Biggio did that will cause the team to keep him around even when it shouldn't.

If Damon doesn't perform better than his sims, no one's going to keep him around, ergo he's very unlikely to keep a full-time roster spot until he's 40, or a part-time spot until he's 42. It'll be hard to feel sorry for Damon if his mercenary approach to the game bites him on the ass.
   115. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: July 25, 2011 at 04:02 AM (#3884549)
Wouldn't those be the same reasons why Rickey Henderson wasn't going to get his 3,000th hit?
   116. Random Transaction Generator Posted: July 25, 2011 at 05:15 AM (#3884573)
Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer: I am confused by your strange number calculations. When I watched the little men in the magic box talk about a hall of fame, they said the magic number was 3000, and I believe them. I'm a caveman, and that's the way I think.
   117. Something Other Posted: July 25, 2011 at 09:18 AM (#3884594)
Rickey? THE Rickey???

because...they're durable and because they had reputations.

There are reputations, and there are reputations. C'mon.
   118. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: July 25, 2011 at 10:56 AM (#3884597)
And Damon doesn't have a reputation? C'mon.

The burden of proof is on those who want to think Damon's going to get to 3,000

This made me laugh; I mean, not taking one side or the other on whether he'll get there, but the idea of a "burden of proof" on speculation?
   119. Something Other Posted: July 26, 2011 at 01:18 AM (#3885171)
You're obviously easy to entertain, ca. See if you can wrap your head around the idea that a player with Damon's track record isn't a favorite to reach three thou, and if you believe he has a better than even shot to make it, then the burden of offering evidence for that, of proving by looking at, say similar players, that he has a real chance, falls on you. Were you planning to add anything substantive to the discussion?

It would be great if you didn't turn out to be one of those internet nitwits who jumps on colloquialisms or good faith assumptions wrt definitions simply in order to nitpick and try to prove how "clever" you are. We really don't need more of that around here.
   120. smileyy Posted: July 26, 2011 at 01:33 AM (#3885198)

Wouldn't those be the same reasons why Rickey Henderson wasn't going to get his 3,000th hit?


The 2190 walks probably had a lot to do with Rickey getting to 3000 so late, but also in helping him to stick around to get to 3000.

Putting up a .227/.366/.351 line is pretty singularly impressive it its own right.
   121. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: July 26, 2011 at 02:05 AM (#3885235)
See if you can wrap your head around the idea that a player with Damon's track record isn't a favorite to reach three thou, and if you believe he has a better than even shot to make it,
This wasn't directed at me, but just for the record: my "needlessly dismissive" comment was because you gave a definitive conclusion -- "he's just not going to get there" -- to something for which there is clearly a measurable chance.

I'll say it again: he's more likely than not to fall short. He's not young, he's still a ways away, one injury could end it, etc. But he's young enough, and close enough, that stating the (admittedly more likely) outcome as if it were fact is, yes, needlessly dismissive.
   122. Something Other Posted: July 26, 2011 at 02:25 AM (#3885263)
You're not familiar with the art of rhetoric, are you?
   123. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: July 26, 2011 at 02:28 AM (#3885264)
Damon's 37, but in his last four seasons (including 2011), he's exceeded his career OPS+ by an average of 9 points, and he's 8 points over it this year. He probably won't make it to either 3000 hits or the HoF, but it's not as if he's pulling a Jeter in terms of his historic production.
   124. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: July 26, 2011 at 02:31 AM (#3885267)
[119, 122] You're an even bigger ####### ####### than I thought. You're also completely wrong about who has and hasn't presented reasonably convincing bases for their conjectures in this thread.
   125. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: July 26, 2011 at 03:22 AM (#3885330)
You're not familiar with the art of rhetoric, are you?
Of course I am, but you're just not getting there.
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