There are a handful of future Hall of Famers playing in the MLB today. Some of them will be debated over wether their name should be in Cooperstown or not; and Damon is probably one of the biggest names in that category. Johnny Damon has done it all in his long and successful career. Just finishing his 17th year in the MLB, the 36-year old has won two World Series titles and was elected to the All Star Game twice. But the one word that really defines Damon’s career, is consistency.
Damon’s ability to play good baseball year after year if what makes him such an ideal player to have on a team. The stats definitely back him up in that department. Damon has never batted under .256 in his whole career, and he’s never had a season where he played 140 or less games (besides for his rookie year). He also has finished top 25 in the MLB in stolen bases (14 times), hits (10 times), and runs (11 times). Clutch is another word that describes Damon well. In both his championship seasons, 2004 and 2009, Johnny had some big clutch hits to help his respective teams succeed in the postseason. This part of his game is something that really helps him in his Hall debate. On the other side of things, his stats are pretty much the only thing weighing him down. A .286 average and 231 homeruns are not your typical Hall of Fame stats. This is why reaching every milestone possible will be important for Damon’s chances. A big one was achieved this year, as Damon became the 11th player in MLB history to hit at least 500 doubles, 100 triples, 200 homers, and 2,500 hits. He joined some great HOF names on that list; including Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, George Brett, Stan Musial, Willie Mays, and more. Even with this incredible feat, Johnny may need another milestone to get him into Cooperstown. Everyone knows exactly what that is; the magical 3,000 hits. Out of all the active players in the league right now, Damon is the closest.
When he (hopefully) starts the season next year, he will stand at 2,723 hits. 277 hits away, Damon and his fans hope it will take just two years to reach the magical number with time running out. At the end of the day, I think it’s going to take that milestone to get his jersey hung up in Cooperstown. As for Damon’s future, it seems questionable in a Rays uniform. At almost 37, Damon is entering free agency. The way he plays with such hustle and heart, it looks like he can easily get through two years. Whatever team he’s on, I am confident he will be able to reach the milestone if he stays healthy. But man, wouldn’t it be nice to see him hit number 3,000 with the Rays.