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Johnny Damon wishes he were more selfish

Jul 7, 2010, 8:20 AM EST

Johnny Damon got his 2,500th hit last night. After the game he talked a lot about it. The takeaway: There’s no “i” in “team,” but there is in “Johnny Damon:”

Prior to the game, Damon was asked what that hit would
mean to him.

“It is another stepping stone to getting to the ultimate place,” he
said.

Asked if he was referring to the Baseball Hall of Fame in
Cooperstown, Damon nodded, adding he hopes to reach 3,000 hits.

“You get that total or 500 homers and it would be something that
normally gets you in,” Damon said.

…He is a career .288 batter and has reached .300 five times with a
career-best of .327 with Kansas City in 2000, when he also had a
career-high 214 hits.

“I wished I’d thought of this earlier in my career,” Damon said of
the hit total. “I was never as greedy as maybe I should’ve been.”

Damon went on to talk about all those days off he took after the Yankees and Red Sox clinched and how they likely deprived him of hits.

It’s impossible tell from the text of the article if Damon was actually regretting those days off and those hits-not-achieved or if it was merely a casual observation, but either way it is unusual for the starting left fielder of a team in a playoff race talking about that kind of stuff.

This doesn’t bother me, really — I hate the canned “only winning matters” rebop, because I think it’s silly to assume that guys don’t think about their stats and milestones — but you certainly don’t see it every day.

  1. quint - Jul 7, 2010 at 8:37 AM

    If it doesn’t bother you Craig, and don’t like the “only winning matters”, because “its silly to assume that guys don’t think about their stats”
    Can you explain your Adam Jones post again?
    http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/adam-jones-lobbied-for-a-scoring-change-after-orioles-loss.php
    If personal stats is the only thing Jones is worried about, I don’t blame him one bit, he plays for a terrible team, no real sign of it getting better, club management is a mess and he has no way out. Good on him for finding some reason to try to do his best every day. Same for Damon.

  2. Craig Calcaterra - Jul 7, 2010 at 8:41 AM

    Context matters. Jones did what he did on a team that just got beat and is in the midst of a terrible season in which his and all of his teammates’ maturity is being questioned. Damon’s statements came after his first place team won a game in which he hit a legitimately newsworthy milestone. Sorry, but Damon gets more latitude than Jones does.

  3. RICK M - Jul 7, 2010 at 9:02 AM

    Think of how many more hits he could have had if he wasn’t a defensive liability and had to be removed from games because he can’t catch or throw. 3,000 hits or not, Johnny Damon is NOT a HOFer!

  4. YankeesfanLen - Jul 7, 2010 at 9:17 AM

    While I agree he won’t be a HOFer, can’t remember him being removed for defensive reasons as a Yankee. Would like to see him hit more milestones, and he will be remembered for his bat.

  5. CRM - Jul 7, 2010 at 9:48 AM

    YankeesfanLen: can’t remember him being removed for defensive reasons as a Yankee
    Len, Damon was often lifted in the eighth and ninth innings for, among others, Brett Gardner, Melky Cabrera, Eric Hinske, and even Freddy Guzman.

  6. dlf - Jul 7, 2010 at 10:38 AM

    And Babe Ruth was replaced for pinch runners and defensive replacements … its silly beyond belief to focus on one element – and outfielders throwing arm in his mid to late 30s – to weigh and measure the HOF. I think that Damon falls below the threshold for the Coop, but arguments that he was replaced occasionally for defense late in his career is ludicrous.

  7. Michael - Jul 7, 2010 at 11:03 AM

    And I think the arguments comparing Johnny Damon to BABE FREAKIN’ RUTH are ludicrous. Damon maintaining his defensive value late into his career (or not) would have a bearing on his HOF candidacy. Babe Ruth as a defensive liability doesn’t matter a bit in the same context.

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