Sunday, February 21, 2010

Johnny Damon: Hall of Famer?

New Tigers OF Johnny Damon isn't what most people would think of as a surefire Hall of Famer, and he probably won't have a real shot without 3,000 hits (he's currently at 2425).  He's 36, so that's a possibility, if he stays healthy for a few more years.  Impressively, he currently is at 1483 runs scored, and the 1500 runs scored club is very exclusive.

There were 38 players who retired before 2005 (and therefore eligible for Hall of Came consideration) with 1500 runs scored.

Elected to the Hall (35 of 38):
Rickey Henderson, Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Lou Gehrig, Stan Musial, Dave Winfield, Jimmie Foxx, Mike Schmidt, Ted Williams, Yaz, Willie Mays, Frank Robinson, Charlie Gehringer, Cal Ripken, Eddie Murray, Al Kaline, Eddie Collins, Rogers Hornsby, George Brett, Mickey Mantle, Mel Ott, Sam Rice, Eddie Mathews, Wade Boggs, Al Simmons, Frankie Frisch, Reggie Jackson, Max Carey, Lou Brock, Paul Waner, Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, Tris Speaker, Joe Morgan

Not Elected (3 out of 38)
Tim Raines (eligible since 2008, received 30% in 2010)
Roberto Alomar (barely missed being elected this year, his first year of eligibility with 73.7%)
Pete Rose (not eligible)

Retired with 1500 Runs since 2004
Jeff Bagwell
Barry Bonds
Kenny Lofton
Rafael Palmeiro
Craig Biggio

Active Players with 1500 R
Manny Ramirez
Gary Sheffield
Ken Griffey, Jr.
Alex Rodriguez
Derek Jeter

Increase it to 1600 runs scored (which Damon has a good chance at), the list drops to 26 players that retired before 2005.  Of those 26, 25 are in the Hall of Fame, and 1 (Pete Rose) is not.  If Damon gets to 1600 career runs scored, I think he should be a Hall of Famer even if he fails to get 3000 hits.


  1. I agree...after all, runs are far more important than anything else offensively. He might even have a shot at 1700 runs.

  2. I wrote about Damon's Hall chances as well. I posed the poll question "If Johnny Damon reaches 3000 hits, will he make the Hall of Fame?" Half of the 20 people who voted said no.

    Not only are all 3000 hit guys in the Hall of Fame (except Rose), but since 1962 all eligible players were inducted on the first ballot.

    Frankly, Johnny Damon isn't half the player Roberto Alomar was, and Alomar didn't make it on the first ballot. But that is more an indictment on the voters than Damon.

    Even if Damon reaches 3,000 hits, I will never think of him as a Hall of Famer. He has never been the top ten player in his league in any season of his career. He was rarely even the 5th best player on his own team.

    His runs scored are more a function of him being a good player for a long time at the top of the order on amazing offensive teams. Similar to Joe Carter's massive RBI numbers, they don't signify individual greatness.

  3. Johnny Damon will likely finish north of 1,750 runs, north of 2,900 hits ... he has shown the ability to adjust his offensive game to the needs of his team ... a rare blend of deceptive speed and unexpected pop.

    Offensively, he's favorably comparible to Robin Yount (and Yount spent almost half his career as an outfielder, so don't give me that "he was an infielder" nonsense)

    But he also has the chance to finish his career as the ONLY player in MLB history with 500 doubles, 100 triples, 250 home runs while stealing 400 bases.

    He's had two of the more dramatic moments in recent post-season history (Slam buries Yankees in Game 7 in 2004; double steal in WS 09).

    The Red Sox -- frankly -- wouldn't have won in 04 without Damon.

    HOFers are mostly about offense. Anyone who doesn't think Damon -- who will likely play through 2013 -- doesn't have the resume is a ridiculously uninformed person.

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