Johnny Damon and the Hall of Fame

Johnny Damon‘s case for the Hall of Fame has recently come up (again). Indeed, some people seem to think it is time to start discussing which hat he should be wearing for his induction. My initial response is “he’s been good, but not good enough,” but hey, I’ve been wrong before. Many times. While the voters have made some progress in recent years, they aren’t exactly known for their objectivity or consistency. What the voters will do with Johnny Damon is one question, one that involves stuff like history and folk psychology, things I’m not interested in dealing with here. Instead, I want to address what the voters should do in Damon’s case.

Some people will want to point to hits, home runs, runs batted in, and the like as “baselies” for Hall-worthiness, but this is FanGraphs, and if you’re reading this, you know we don’t go in for those sort of shenanigans (remember, I’m addressing the “should he” question, not the “will he” question). Instead, we try to base these sorts of discussions (partly, if not wholly) on a more all-encompassing metric like Wins Above Replacement. Hall of Famers on average are around the 60 WAR mark. That isn’t all there is to it, we want to take into account peak value so that players who maybe didn’t have a really long career but had a magnificent peak are properly valued, and players who merely accumulated a bunch of “pretty good” seasons don’t sneak in. That’s why the “nth best season” WAR graphs are so handy.

Let’s compare Damon to recent inductee and fellow outfielder Andre Dawson. Dawson wasn’t a shoo-in, but he makes a good baseline because not many feel like he besmirches the Hall, but he also isn’t a no-doubter. He had a long career, but also an impressive peak in the early 1980s in which he averaged more than six WAR for four seasons in a row. For his career, FanGraphs has Dawson at 62.3 WAR — right around the amount we’d expect. For Damon’s career, we have him (so far!) at 42.1. But let’s check out the contours of their careers to see if Damon has an impressive peak (click to enlarge).

This graph makes it clear that there’s no real comparison in FanGraphs’ WAR. Dawson not only had the better cumulative WAR, but his peak was far superior. It isn’t just Dawson’s clear defensive superiority, either. Despite his OBP issues, once adjusted for the era he played in, Dawon’s 118 wRC+ is better than Damon’s career 109 wRC+. This really isn’t a contest. One could make Damon’s case look a bit better by using Baseball-Reference’s WAR for him and Dawson, but the overall contours are roughly the same: while Damon has one season over six WAR according to Baseball-Reference, Dawson has four. Some will want to talk about Damon’s contributions to the 2004 Red Sox and the 2009 Yankees, which matter, but I don’t think they make of the difference. I wouldn’t say that someone who voted for Damon for the Hall was an “idiot,” but I wouldn’t be impressed, either.

In closing, I will briefly note that if there is a much better case to be made for a different ex-Royals center fielder being Hall-worthy:




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Matt Klaassen reads and writes obituaries in the Greater Toronto Area. If you can't get enough of him, follow him on Twitter.


88 Responses to “Johnny Damon and the Hall of Fame”

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  1. j6takish says:

    Until now, I’ve never heard of anyone who considered damon a HoFer. It seemed that everyone was in agreeance that he was an above average player with a remarkably consistent career, but never HoF worthy. He can still get on base though and probably has a few more years left in him

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    • Steve says:

      Here’s the issue: he has ~2600 hits.

      If you believe, as you said, that he has a few more years left, he could realistically get to 3000 hits.

      Then what do the voters do with him?

      3000 hits has been an automatic ticket to Cooperstown.

      Long way to go, I know, but it’s very possible he gets there if he’s willing to keep playing.

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      • Steve says:

        tag fail

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      • descender says:

        3000 hits has been an automatic ticket, doesn’t mean it should be.

        That’s also 3-4 years for Damon to keep playing.

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      • Yirmiyahu says:

        Is Edgar Renteria destined for the HoF too? He has a realistic chance as well.

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      • HRB says:

        Speaking of automatic baselines, the one thing I wanted more than anything else was for Jamie Moyer to get 300 wins before he retired. I guess there’s still a shot if anyone employs him after elbow surgery.

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      • Steve says:

        Agree descender. Just wondering how the voters would treat him.

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      • James says:

        I don’t think the writers are dumb enought to fall for 3000… I don’t know if he’s ever been one of the best players at his position for more than one or two seasons, let alone one of the best players in MLB. Would definitely be one of the less deserving inductees. How could they possibly justify Damon and not Santo?

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      • Ian R. says:

        3000 hits used to be an automatic for the Hall. Then Rafael Palmeiro happened.

        Different circumstances, obviously, since Damon wasn’t a steroid guy (so far as we know). But you know what? If the writers can keep out a man who had 3000 and 500 home runs, then can probably keep out a hypothetical 3000-hit Johnny Damon.

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  2. Blue says:

    That top graph is enough to end serious debate.

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  3. Anon says:

    A guy with the arm of a 10 year-old better hit like Ruth if he wants to get in the HoF.

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  4. Mike H says:

    If Beltran deserves consideration, then so does Andruw Jones

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  5. MikeS says:

    Maybe the Hall of the Very Good for a Long Time?

    Having seen his whole career I can’t honestly say that I was ever very afraid of him. Whenever the White Sox would play a Damon team I never went into the game or series thinking “Whatever you do, don’t let Damon beat you!” or if he came up in a big situation I was never really quaking in my chair.

    But as you hint at, his time in Boston and New York will probably earn him bonus points. If he had played his whole career in KC and put up those numbers this column wouldn’t have needed to be written.

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    • Steve says:

      Honestly, is there any proof whatsoever of this imagined “NY bias” in Hall of Fame voting?

      Maybe some guys hang around longer on the ballot than they would otherwise, but I can’t think of anyone who played in NY that got into the Hall of Fame underservedly (by the BWAA vote, the veteran’s committee is another story). Mattingly is rightfully on the outside looking in. Munson too.

      Paul Molitor managed to get in, as will Barry Larkin. Who are these small market players that are being kept out of the Hall for wallowing in obscurity?

      Now, Jim Rice on the other hand….

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      • Conrad says:

        Dear MikeS,

        Thank you for your comments. Please provide, at your convenience, a list of players who did make you quake in your chair, IN ORDER OF QUAKEY-NESS.

        We will induct them ASAP.

        Sincerely,

        The HOF Veteran’s Committee

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      • Ian says:

        Alan Trammell? 18 shortstops in the HOF…Trammell is 9th in WAR at the position.

        Lou Whitaker? 17 2B’s in the HOF…Whitaker is 7th in WAR at the position.

        Detroit fans are confident that the Tigers get the short-end of the voting stick fairly often. Freehan, Morris & Parrish also have HOF cases IMO (though I’d only back Freehan).

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      • MikeS says:

        Dear Conrad and the rest of the Committee.

        Thanks so much for asking my opinion. I’m sure you weremn’t being the least bit snarky so I’ll give you a few of his teammates.

        From the 2000 Royals (Damon’s WAR peak) Jermaine Dye and Mike Sweeney.

        From the 2005 Red Sox (his highest finish in the MVP voting) David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez.

        From the 2008 Yankees (his best offensive season by wRC+) Alex Rodriguez.

        I know all these guys have their problems and none of them are even eligible yet but my point is that even in his best years he was only maybe the third best player on those teams. He never really had a stretch of real dominance.

        The guys who get in seem to have both a huge peak and a long run of above-averageness. Damon kind of has the second but his peak wasn’t all that impressive.

        Sincerely,

        MikeS

        PS: can you score me tix to the inductgion ceremony since we’re so tight now?

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      • Steve says:

        I would definitely vote for Trammel, but is it really a matter of not being famous enough?

        You list WAR as the reason why he should get in (which I agree with), but the voters aren’t looking at WAR. Isn’t that the issue? His traditional counting stats might not scream HOF, you might need better stats to realize he is worthy.

        I am not unsympathetic to your position, since I can’t speak from a Detroit fan’s experience. You may have a point.

        I guess I was more taking the opposite side of the coin (even though I mentioned both sides): I don’t see any unworthy Yankees getting voted into the HoF by the BBWAA, so Damon’s time in pinstripes prob isn’t going to carry him in.

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  6. Matty says:

    Amos Otis? Sweet. AO was the man.

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  7. The voters should definitely look beyond the basic stats with Damon. Any borderline candidate or player that a voter thinks they should consider but isn’t a slam dunk, should always have their non-basic stats examined. Sometimes they deserve a little more and sometimes they don’t.

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  8. Oscar says:

    I’ve never ever read or heard that Damon should be considered for the HOF. Never ever.

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  9. Dave Cameron says:

    I’m going to guess that Damon doesn’t even meet the 5% threshold to stay on the ballot. Who is going to make up the critical mass of voters putting him on their ballot?

    He didn’t play in any one city for all that long. He’s not going to get any support from statheads. Even if he gets to 3,000 hits, it will be viewed as a product of his offensive era. He’s a corner outfielder with a .790 OPS and a defensive reputation that is mostly about his weak arm.

    He’s basically Paul O’Neill, just without all the gamer/Yankee legend stuff, and O’Neill got 12 votes.

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    • Luke in MN says:

      If he gets to 3000 hits, 5% won’t be a problem. I bet for at least 20-30% of the voters 3000 hits is an automatic, regardless of era. Otherwise, I agree.

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    • Mike H says:

      3,000 hits seems to be getting less substantial faster than the other “HOF standards.”

      Another great case for this is Omar Vizquel. The guy has 2800+ hits and is a many time gold glover who is universally considered one of the best defenders of our era. That sounds like a great case at first glance, but then you look at his .313 career wOBA. How did that happen? Oh, right, he’s collected those hits over twenty-three seasons. He’s actually been good for 158 batting runs BELOW replacement over his career, leaving him at 48.1 WAR.

      On another note: Interestingly enough, Ozzie Smith has a nearly identical .311 wOBA over 19 seasons, with only 2400 hits and actually LESS power (28 homers to Omar’s 80) and he was a surefire HOF’er at only 58 batting runs below replacement, good for 70.3 WAR. That’s an incredible difference in era for a two guys that entered the league less than ten years apart, no?

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      • Steve says:

        I happen to think Vizquel will be voted in.

        Everyone here will gasp at this, and I agree that he does not deserve it, but I have read a LOT of articles by sportswriters who say they will vote for him.

        They are basically using the working assumption that his defense was as good as Ozzie’s and he’s hit more (not better, more).

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      • Robbie G. says:

        Omar Vizquel probably will not make it to 3,000 hits. He is at 2,807 at the moment. I believe he’s 44 years old. The White Sox may well be the only team in MLB willing to give him a roster spot, and even the White Sox are limiting his playing time this year. He only has 31 plate appearances so far this year and eight hits (only one of which went for extra bases). During the past three seasons (’08-’10), he has averaged 67 hits/season. Even at that rate, he’d need to play three more years. I don’t think it’s going to happen. However, if it does, again, 3,000 has gotten every single player in who either a) isn’t Pete Rose or b) didn’t use PEDs. I will say that I strongly suspect that the White Sox will be willing to keep Vizquel on the roster as long as Vizquel wants to keep playing so long as the Kenny Williams-Ozzie Guillen regime is in place.

        Vizquel IS #3 all-time among SSs in career hits, behind Honus Wagner and Derek Jeter. He also had a reputation as a tremendous fielder, winning multiple Gold Gloves. I have made this point already in this discussion but I will make it again: voters are going to wind up giving bonus points to dudes who are perceived to have never used PEDs. We haven’t seen this happen yet but I am convinced that we will. Vizquel will be presented by his supporters as the antithesis of folks like Barry Bonds and Manny Ramirez.

        Bottom line: Vizquel has his contingent who will give him votes but I do not see this contingent growing unless he gets to 3,000.

        Obviously, Alan Trammell belongs in the Hall. I’d like to think that Trammell eventually gets in.

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      • Toffer Peak says:

        Mike H – you seem to be misreading the data. Omar Vizquel was 159.5 batting runs below AVERAGE. To compare him to replacement you need to subtract those batting runs from his 390 replacement runs, meaning he was 230.5 batting runs ABOVE REPLACEMENT.

        You made the same mistake with Ozzie Smith who was only 60 runs below average and significantly above replacement at batting.

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    • John DiFool says:

      He was a CFer during his prime-perhaps not a stellar one defensively, but he’s only been in the corner for 4-5 years now.

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    • AA says:

      And Paul O’Neill had a good, deserved defensive reputation.

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  10. Robbie G. says:

    If Johnny Damon reaches 3000 hits, and I expect him to, then I do believe that he gets in.

    The 3000 hit plateau is probably THE most beloved/important of all traditional HOF benchmarks for HOF voters.

    More importantly, however, are a few other factors that, in my opinion, seal the deal for Damon’s candidacy:

    1) The 2004 Red Sox are already a beloved team, one of the most beloved teams ever. This team is only going to get more beloved over the next 5-10 years. They made that incredible comeback against the evil empire. They will also, in my opinion, represent, in the minds of voters, “better days.” The financial crisis had not yet occurred in 2004. The housing market had not yet collapsed. The country had not yet gone broke. Don’t forget that, right about the time that Damon becomes eligible for the Hall, China will be surpassing the U.S. as the world’s #1 economy. There is a lot of emotion and sentimentality here. Voters’ irrationality is their defining characteristic.

    2) The 2004 Red Sox only have two guys who look like sure-fire HOFers: Pedro Martinez and Curt Schilling. [Some will argue that Schilling isn't a sure-fire HOFer; rubbish, I say!] Is that enough representation for the voters? I don’t think so.

    3) There are three other every day players on that 2004 roster who aren’t quite HOF material: Nomar Garciaparra, David Ortiz, and Manny Ramirez. Nomar’s seemingly HOF-bound career was cut short due to injuries. Ortiz was a late bloomer (thus, he lacks the counting stats) and also ended up with the taint of PEDs. Ramirez’s PED taint has, over the past year, gotten almost as big as Barry Bonds’, which I did not think was possible. Voters strongly dislike Ramirez for a variety of reasons and will be happy to punish him by leaving him out of the Hall. Which is a shame, because Ramirez was one of the greatest right-handed hitters ever, and he loved to play the game of baseball.

    4) Damon, meanwhile, is seen as the antithesis of Ramirez. Is this justified? Who cares? It’s perception, and perception sometimes trumps reality.

    5) Here is the biggie: NOBODY thinks that Johnny Damon ever even THOUGHT about using PEDs. Let’s say that he DID use PEDs. What would his numbers look like? They’d obviously be better! Yet he took “the high road.” Again, sentimentality is important. [By the way: has Andruw Jones ever been linked to PEDs? Not to my knowledge. What would HIS numbers look like if he had been using PEDs?]

    6) Thus, by voting in Damon, voters will be simultaneously celebrating the ’04 Red Sox, rewarding Damon for joining the 3000 hit club, rewarding Damon for being a “clutch” player, rewarding Damon for being a great interview, rewarding Damon for playing the game “the right way” and for refusing to use PEDs during an era when most of his peers seemed to be doing so, AND PUNISHING Ramirez for all of the reasons why they want to punish Ramirez. Furthermore, voters are, by voting in Damon, punishing lots of dudes who used PEDs.

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    • Barkey Walker says:

      But is there another player on the 3000 hit list that is so undecorated? only 2 ASG appearances, so-so power combined with a sub 0.300 batting average count against him. The closest in these departments are Rickey Henderson, but was also a base stealer and won an MVP and Robin Yount, but he played difficult positions and won two MVPs.

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      • Robbie G. says:

        How about Lou Brock? Brock is in the 3,000 hit club and he is unquestionably less accomplished than Johnny Damon. There are nearly 300 position players with more career WAR than Brock, including the following dudes:

        Doug DeCinces
        Carney Lansford
        David Justice
        Julio Franco
        Chuck Knoblauch
        Devon White
        Andy Van Slyke
        Carlos Delgado

        Devon White!

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        It’s NOT the Hall of War.

        I don;t think people here really get that. It’s not WAR-based, post-season stuff matters, etc.

        Brock also retired as the all-time and single season recorder holder for stolen bases. So basically he had 3K hits and 2 major stat records.

        To even bring it up as being a Doug DeCinces situation is ridiculous.

        Brock was also a key member of a team that went to 3 World Series in 4 years (winning 2).

        I love WAR as a value stat. But the Hall of Fame is NOT the Hall of War, and we really need to stop acting like it is or treat each player’s career as if it is entirely encapsulated in WAR.

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      • EdwardM says:

        Robbie G:

        Please, do not ‘dis Devo!

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    • TK says:

      Points 1-4 and part of 6 are unrelated to this post or any honest discussion of HOF worth. The HOF has momentos and the like from important events in baseball, and surely certain artifacts from the ’04 Red Sox are rightfully included. Picking an arbitrary number of players that must represent a WS team (or just this WS team) is dumb, and making that number at least 3 is really dumb. If you had to have 3 HOFers for every WS team, that would basically be all of the people selected for the HOF.

      Point 5 and part of 6 that reference roids is a valid point, but seems to not be helping, but rather hurting the chances of players and will continue to do so as long as a large chunk of players on the ballot are linked to roids and have better numbers. The HOF limit of 10 votes per voter will keep guys out because certain voters will use several of their votes each year on roiders because they don’t think they should be excluded. This creates more 5% or more guys and because the wealth of votes is spread so much, guys like Alomar, Bagwell, and Larkin don’t get in on their first try, and a so-called anti-roider, Fred McGriff, who had 493 supposedly clean home runs, is left out right along side McGwire and Palmiero. The voters don’t like roiders, but they also don’t like the guys who were statistically far inferior to the roiders, which leaves a very small group of potential HOFers for the next 15-20 years.

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      • Robbie G. says:

        Note: I am not talking about what should happen, I’m talking about what I think will happen. Again, if HOF voters can be counted on for one thing, it’s unreasonableness. If Johnny Damon gets to 3,000 hits, then all of these other factors that I rattled off, all or most of which have nothing much to do with Johnny Damon’s actual performance as a player relative to his peers (or to current HOF OFs), will easily provide HOF voters with the rationale they need, however questionable that rationale might be. That was the point I was trying to make in my post.

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      • TK says:

        Alright. Fair enough. If Jim Rice and Phil Rizzuto can make the Hall, why not Damon…

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    • CheeseWhiz says:

      All I can say to this is, why the hell are we supposed to celebrate to 2004 Red Sox? Do we need to induct Carlos Guillen because he was on the White Sox championship team? Does half of their team need to be inducted just because it’s Boston? The guy had a long an excellent career, but is simply not hall worthy, and it’s not terribly close.

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      • ObsidianXIII says:

        Carlos Guillen was not on the 2005 White Sox. He has only been on the Mariners (’98-’03) and Tigers (’04-…).

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      • Steven Ellingson says:

        Maybe he meant Ozzie Guillen.

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      • skippyballer486 says:

        Exactly. Why do you guys keep insisting Carlos Guillen should go to the HOF for playing with the White Sox in 05? He wasn’t even on that team. This is ridiculous!

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    • Christian says:

      Manny Ramirez’s taint has gotten bigger? What an image.

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    • descender says:

      The most publicly ‘roided out team in history need to be celebrated? hahaha

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  11. Barkey Walker says:

    Okay, most are talking about will he… lets talk about should he.

    I think the sum of all WAR is not a good stat. It should be sum of WAG, or wins above a good player. These are supposed to be great players. I’d set the good player bar around 2 WAR, this is about where you are likely to be a free agent every fall and not a fan favorite, but they are going to get a contract reliably. These players are more like a commodity for putting together a division leading team when there is a hole in one spot.

    If a player played for 25 years, each a 2 WAR season, there is no way they would ever, ever be considered. This is a ho-hum player who lasted really well.

    I would also remove the negative values from WAG. These are the years you are forgiven where you are carted out for the fans to see a few more times. A player should be judged by the heights they can reach…

    On this basis, he is a no way! Far to many low WAR (just positive WAG) years.

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    • Wally says:

      Setting the zero point a little higher, here 2, would also be a good way to properly value peak performance as well. Of course you could always back calculate from the career number, but then you’d need to know service time. I’d rather just place a higher cut off and maybe a non-linear weighting for extremes, starting at WARs above ~8, then go through all the math post hoc.

      Now regarding Damon, he has been a decent player, but for 10 years out of a 17 year career he’s been at roughly 2 WAR or less. When it comes to the HOF, those kind of seasons are basically worthless, maybe unless you’re ~40. But players who’s average WAR through their “peak” ages was around 3, do not belong in the HOF.

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      • Barkey Walker says:

        You said what I’m trying to say very well, ” for 10 years … he’s been at roughly 2 WAR or less. When it comes to the HOF, those kind of seasons are basically worthless.”

        The idea is to basically “drop” the sub 2 WAR years.

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    • Oscar says:

      WAR is exactly the same as “WAG”. You just add, like, 2.5.

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      • Barkey Walker says:

        For any given year, but there is a difference between being a 8 WAR/year player for 8 years and being a 3 WAR/year player for 22 years.

        8*8=64
        3*22=66

        So by the current FG convention, they are about the same. But I’d bet the first player makes the HoF and the second doesn’t get 5% on his first ballot–and I’m saying that is a correct assessment.

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  12. rageon says:

    Is Damon even remotely the candidate that Bobby Abreu is? And I’m assuming he’s not getting in. (And bringing up Tim Raines would be too easy, right?)

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    • Yirmiyahu says:

      Bobby Abreu should be legitimately be in the discussion. Damon shouldn’t.

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    • JD says:

      I really think anybody who doesn’t vote for Tim Raines may as well just never watch baseball again. It baffles me that a guy who had a peak of 6.3, 6.8, 7.3, 6.2, and 6.9 WAR (with another 6 WAR season later on in addition to six 3+ WAR seasons) isn’t treated as a guy who absolutely belongs.

      The problem, I guess, is that those seasons were almost 30 years ago.

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  13. Jim says:

    He’s also a winner. Something tells me WAR doesn’t factor that in.

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  14. Rafael Palmeiro says:

    3,000 hits AND 500 HRs are definite shoo-in statistics.

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    • Mike H says:

      Bad example. PEDs appear to trump all, so far. Palmeiro would have been a first balloter if not for the PED thing.

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  15. west says:

    Players won’t get in simply because they’re better than Rice or Dawson, they need an MVP and high marks in stats that don’t matter like RBI and SB. Most voters don’t care about WAR and some never will, unfortunately.

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    • west says:

      And for the record I don’t think Damon is a hall over famer, he might be better than a few in the hall, but there are more players who have never made it that are better than him.

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    • JD says:

      Most of those voters are ancient, and thankfully some of the new blood comes from a much smarter pool of baseball people.

      It’s only a matter of time before the dinosaurs are extinct.

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  16. Brent says:

    If my boy Mark Grace (who did more with less IMO) didn’t even get a sniff of the HoF, than Damon shouldn’t even be close to “considered.”

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    • Robbie G. says:

      Mark Grace = 2,445 career hits

      Johnny Damon = 2,590 career hits (and counting)

      Take a look at the all-time hits leaders: http://www.baseball-reference.com/leaders/H_career.shtml

      The only players with 3,000 career hits who aren’t in either are not yet eligible (Craig Biggio), ineligible (Pete Rose), or is getting the PED punishment treatment by voters (Rafael Palmeiro).

      In fact, everyone with at least 2,867 hits is in except members of one of these three categories (namely, Derek Jeter and Barry Bonds). The highest person on this list who is both a) eligible and b) not getting the PED punishment treatment is Harold Baines, who wound up with 2,866 hits.

      My point, once again, is that, like it or not, 3,000 hits is a benchmark that gets you in every single time unless you’re either Pete Rose or a steroids user, and Johnny Damon is not Pete Rose and is presumably not a steroids user.

      Does Damon have another 410 hits left in him? Well, he’s 37, so maybe not, but he is durable, and he loves to play the game of baseball, so I think he’s going to stick around long enough to get to 3,000. Might not be until 2014, though.

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  17. shthar says:

    WAR does not mean Word Of God.

    And even if it did, Dawson’s has stopped.

    In 3 more years, even a declining Damon will have…

    More hits, more doubles, more walks

    and he will STILL have more Runs, More walks, more triples, Fewer Double plays, more steals AND fewer caught stealing

    …than Dawson.

    And this argument will seem even stupider than not voting for Bagwell.

    (None of this should be considered an endorsement of any argument that Dawson does not belong in the HoF, however. Just that Damon does too.)

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    • Kris says:

      For the HoF voters, this argument might hold some weight. For anyone who recognizes that the run environments for these players eliminates a great deal of the small advantages Damon has, it will not.

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  18. Paul says:

    The issue is whether he gets to 3,000 or not (maybe deservedley, maybe underservedley). If he does, & doesn’t have any PED taint, then he will get in, If not, then no chance).

    There are not many that get to 3,000, and i can’t see that many current players who will (Jeter, ARod, IRod?, Ichiro) and looking ahead Pujols, Beltre, Crawford, Miggy have started well on the road.

    If he plays for the next 3 years and gets to 3,000, then he’ll end up with slightly worse totals to Biggio – who is surely getting in? Add to that the WS wins etc… and you have a reasonable case for Damon

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  19. Johnny is going to the HOF, you babies can cry later. says:

    Johnny is going to the HOF. Look at his runs scored, hits, doubles, stolen bases, check his all time numbers on the career lists, and on top of that, he is clutch. The Red Sox and the Yankees do not win the world series without him on the team. Beyond this, he is a class act, never used performance enhancing drugs, and he’s always appreciative of the fans. Johnny is a positive role model for kids; we should not support juicers and egomaniacs because their numbers might be better.

    Believe it or not, Johnny is going to the HOF. You haters and babies need to look at the reality of the situation. Just because JD beat your team, or never played for it, does not mean his numbers don’t tell the truth. He didn’t have the media playing him up for years, so you sheep don’t understand where he came from, but he snuck in on you. Go Johnny Go!

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  20. Drew says:

    I think he’s going to get to 3,000 hits, and then he’ll get in, and he’ll be one of the worst picks ever.

    He’s good and all, but to see his value visually so far below Andre Dawson’s, who was himself a marginal pick (how funny it is to see all the “non-steroid era” guys benefiting undeservedly from the reverse backlash), shows how far from consideration he should be, regardless of the counting stats.

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  21. Drew says:

    Hey, how about Ichiro – should he go in?

    Much better fielder, so his overall value is a bit higher, but they have similar batting stats.

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    • Steve says:

      I would say that Ichiro is basically a lock at this point. So yes.

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      • Robbie G. says:

        Ichiro is a sure-fire first ballot HOFer. He has gotten at least 206 hits in every single one of his ten seasons as a major leaguer. He has finished first in the AL in hits in seven of those ten seasons and in second place in the other three seasons. He has a reputation as one of the best defensive OFs in MLB and has won a Gold Glove in every single one of his ten seasons (!). He is 37 this season and he continues to play at a very high level, so he is aging well. Hell, if this guy can keep this up for a few more years, then he has a legitimate shot at reaching 3,000 career hits and he didn’t get started in the majors until he was, what, 27 years old? He also has finished no lower than fifth in the AL in stolen bases during all ten seasons and he is in second place in the AL in steals at the moment. He also has won two batting titles and has hit at least .350 during four of his ten seasons. His career batting average is .331. He won the MVP award during his very first season in the bigs.

        If Ichiro had gotten started in the majors 4-5 years earlier, he’d have a very good shot at winding up in the top five, TOP FIVE, all-time in career hits. Here is your leaderboard:

        1 Pete Rose 4,256 hits
        2 Ty Cobb 4,189 hits
        3 Hank Aaron 3,771 hits
        4 Stan Musial 3,630 hits
        5 Tris Speaker 3,514 hits

        All this from a guy who has never been suspected of using steroids during an era when many of his peers were using steroids.

        So yeah, Ichiro, he’s a lock.

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  22. dangnewt says:

    Put me in the 3000+hits he is in, but if not, probably not.

    I am fine with the Hall of Fame recognizing different kinds of careers including relatively short-term excellence or the long-term above-averageness that gets you to the major milestones like 3000+ hits.

    I agree with Robbie G’s points about the 2004 World Series. That is the kind of thing could separate him from a bunch of players that have similar value stats. Johnny Damon is a winner and there is no doubt in my mind that his personality was the missing piece for the Red Sox to finally win a WS. Then he did it again in 2009 with a Yankee team that was in a bit of a post-season funk by its own high standards, itself (losing an ALCS after being ahead 3-0, no WS in 8 years and 1.3 billion in salary).

    Johnny may not have been one of the most valuable players of his era, but he is certainly one of the most famous and most worth remembering. And he will be regardless of what the HoF voters do.

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    • RiverAce says:

      And, dangnewt, he hit the biggest HR of the 2004 ALCS and one of the biggest ever – the grand slam in game 7 that almost single-handedly broke the Yankees backs, to complete the greatest playoff comeback in sports history.

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    • Ian R. says:

      This, by the way, is one of the weirdest things about HOF voting. Right now, Johnny has no shot. If he grinds out a few more decent seasons and gets to 3000 hits, he may well get in, despite the fact that those few extra seasons add very little value to his career. I fully expect the same could’ve happened for Harold Baines.

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  23. Bookbook says:

    I ran the chart above with Mike Cameron thrown in. He’s less pesky than Beltran but very close in overall value. and better than Damon. and not going in.

    The trouble with Damon in the HOF isn’t Damon per se, of course, but all the better players who are on the outside looking in, from Dwight Evans to Ken Singleton to Dave Parker to a bunch of folks who actually deserve induction.

    That said, Damon at 3,100 hits probably goes.

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    • Steve says:

      Agreed. Dale Murphy comes to mind…

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    • psiogen says:

      Beltran has had 4 MVP-worthy seasons, each of which is better than Cameron’s best year. I’m sure he’ll far surpass Cameron in WAR if he manages to play to age 38 like Cameron has. But yeah, Cameron’s resume certainly beats Damon’s (basically purely on fielding!).

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  24. RiverAce says:

    Screw WAR and other sabremetrics when you are considering the Hall.
    Cooperstown is about career totals.
    Damon gets 3,000 ==> HOF here the idiot comes.
    And 3,000 is entirely possible.

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    • TK says:

      400 was supposed to be a magic number for homers until it wasn’t. Then it was 500 but now that is questionable. 3000 hits could be the same, and a weak hitting, noodle arm like Damon would be a good first (aside from roiders).

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  25. Adam S says:

    Damon in the Hall of Fame is laughable.

    Yes it’s possible that he’ll hang around long enough to get to 3000 hits. And it’s possible that enough voters will just look at hits at vote for him and he gets in. It’s also possible, in fact likely, that people look at him and say “he was never a star” and he’s not one of the top 50 OF of all time and simply don’t vote for him even with 3027 hits.

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  26. shthar says:

    Let me ask the Damon Naysayers one thing.

    How many of his seasons would he not be on your team?

    Would he not make your team in any of the 98 through 06 seasons where he scored over 100 runs?

    Which team did have 3 better outfielders in one of those seasons?

    How many had 2?

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    • Hayves says:

      ^ So the HOF is for every major leaguer who ever played? what you wrote makes no sense.

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    • Cidron says:

      I do believe that the Angels seemed to have productive OF’rs during this timeframe. As did the Mariners, maybe the Rockies, Yankees, and a few others. But, are we putting their outfielders in, just because they “were a good OF group” ? nope. Cant agree with your logic Shthar. According to your logic, we also have to put in the 4th OF, as he is .. an OF on that same team.

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