ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — You can turn baseball statistics into a lot of different directions to make a point. Like this one:
Johnny Damon has 499 doubles after drilling a Tim Wakefield pitch off the wall in right field last night. He is one shy from becoming only the 11th player in the history of baseball with 500 doubles, 100 triples, 200 home runs and 2,500 hits.
The other 10 players are George Brett, Goose Goslin, Rogers Hornsby, Willie Mays, Paul Molitor, Stan Musial, Babe Ruth, Al Simmons and Robin Yount.
What do those gentlemen also have in common? They’re all in the Hall of Fame.
Now here’s where it gets funky. Of those 10 players, only Molitor and Mays also have at least 300 stolen bases.
So Damon will be one of three players in history with 500 doubles, 100 triples, 200 homers, 2,500 hits and 300 steals. Yes, we have better ways of analyzing players these days and round numbers aren’t especially significant. But one of three players?
And if metrics are your deal, Damon has a 50.2 career WAR. Jim Rice was 41.5.
Damon has 2,643 career hits. If he somehow makes it to 3,000, it would be hard to justify not selecting him on a Hall of Fame ballot.
And while this is sure to infuriate some, Damon will register high on the intangible meter when people look at their ballot. He has always been a winner, a gamer, a good teammate and all that good stuff. Plus he has two World Series rings.
It sounds like crazy talk. But Johnny Damon could well be a Hall of Famer. Just for the speech alone, it would be fun.