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While the KC Royals may not be plentiful in the MLB Hall of Fame, one prior players says that if he got the chance, he would wear a Royals hat into history.
When thinking of past KC Royals players, there are likely many names that come to mind. George Brett, Bret Saberhagen, and Mike Sweeney, might be a few, along with many others. Another name that may come up, though not as much, is Johnny Damon.
While Damon might not be many fans first thought for a prior Royal, the fact remains that he was a Royal from the start. Kansas City drafted Damon in round 1 of the 1992 MLB Amateur Draft from Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando, Florida.
Damon spent a few years making his way through the Royals minor league system, and during the 1995 season, made the jump from AA ball to the majors, never looking back.
Damon found success with the Royals, putting up stats that may not have put him in the front of the MVP race, but were enough to keep him on the field as a productive player for multiple years.
Damon spent the first portion of his career in Kansas City, playing with the Royals until 2000 where he saw one of his best seasons. Damon led the league in runs (136) and stolen bases (46), while batting .327, his highest BA during his time with the Royals, allowing him to finish 19th in the MVP race.
In January of 2001, Damon saw his time with the Royals come to an end when he was traded with Mark Ellis to the Oakland A’s as part of a multi team trade. From here, Damon saw his career take him through many teams, including the A’s, Red Sox, Yankees, Tigers, Rays, and Indians.
Not long after leaving the Royals, Damon saw 2 All-Star games (2002 and 2005), finished with MVP votes in three more seasons (2004-2006), and won 2 World Series with Boston (2004) and New York (2009). Johnny Damon finished up his career after being released by the Indians in August of 2012.
In 2018, Damon was on the ballot for induction into the Hall of Fame, but unfortunately was not named on 5% of ballots and was removed from the ballot for future elections.
Recently, though, Damon discussed his career and the Hall of Fame voting in a recent interview over at Radio.com/610 sports radio. Though he wasn’t a Royal for his entire career, he made an interesting comment regarding if he ever made it into the Hall of Fame.
People ask me and I tell them that I’d like to wear the Kansas City Royals hat. It was my team, unfortunately I didn’t win a championship with them but I always wanted to come back, always wanted to put that Royals jersey back on but they had their young guys coming up and I was just getting older, they ended up doing a fantastic job.
Damon didn’t finish his career in Kansas City, but it is where he got his start. While some of his best days came with other teams, Damon always felt that the Royals were his team, and still remains a Royals to this day.