- CF, OF, RF, DH, LF, 1B
- November 5, 1973
- 6' 2"
- 205 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 8-12-1995 with KCA
"We're just a bunch of crazy idiots!" — on the carefree and flaky Red Sox clubhouse
He made his major league debut in 1995 with the Kansas City Royals. From 2000–2008, he was third among active players in runs (1008) and seventh in hits (2571) and stolen bases (252). He is currently second among active leaders in triples with 100, five behind Carl Crawford. Active Leaders & Records for Triples. He is also sixth among active players in career hits with over 2,500.
Damon was born in Fort Riley, Kansas, an army base in Kansas. His mother, Yome, is from [[Thailand]] and his father, Jimmy, is American of [[Europe]]an descent. They met while his father, a [[Staff Sergeant]] in the [[United States Army]], was stationed in Thailand. Damon spent much of his early childhood as an "[[Military brat (U.S. subculture)|army brat]]," moving to several bases from Okinawa, Japan, to West Germany before his father left the Army and settled the family in the [[Orlando, Florida|Orlando]] area while Damon was still a pre-schooler.[http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0198934/bio Johnny Damon - Biography] [[Internet Movie Database]]
Damon was a quiet child, largely on account of a stuttering problem. "My thoughts just raced ahead of my tongue," says Damon of his problem then. "I’d sing songs as therapy, and I got better, but I just kept quiet most of the time." Damon attended [[Dr. Phillips High School]] in [[Orlando, Florida]] when during his senior year in 1992, he was rated the top high school prospect in the country by ''[[Baseball America]]'', was named to [[USA Today]]'s High School All-America team, and was the Florida [[Gatorade]] Player of the Year. Damon also played football in high school, once getting hit by [[Warren Sapp]] and sustaining the first concussion in his life.
Kansas City Royals
Damon was selected by the Kansas City Royals in the first round (35th overall) of the 1992 amateur draft. He made his Major League debut on August 12, 1995. He played for the Royals from 1995 to 2000. He scored 104 runs in 1998 and 101 runs in 1999. His best season came in 2000 when he led the American League in runs with 136 and stolen bases with 46.
Damon spent 2001 with the Oakland Athletics. In a three-way trade involving the A's, Royals, and Tampa Bay Devil Rays, the A's received Damon along with pitcher Cory Lidle from the Devil Rays and second baseman Mark Ellis from the Royals. He was third in the league in at bats (644) and seventh in runs (108).
Boston Red Sox
Damon signed a four-year, $31 million contract with the [[Boston Red Sox]] on December 21, 2001.
In 2002 Damon led the league in triples (11), and was 3rd in infield hits (25). He became the first player selected by the fans in the inaugural American League All-Star Final Vote.
On June 27, 2003, Damon became only the second major leaguer since 1900 to record three base hits in an inning, when he did so against the Florida Marlins. Also, Damon suffered a head on collision with Damian Jackson. He had a concussion, while Jackson walked off the field fine in the ALDS.
In 2004, he was 2nd in the league in runs (123). Damon began to re-establish himself among the premier lead-off hitters and center fielders in the game. In arguably his best season in the Major Leagues, Damon batted .304 with 20 home runs and 94 RBIs, and showed improved patience at the plate. According to Damon's autobiography, he was only the 4th leadoff batter in the history of Major League Baseball to drive in more than 90 runs in a season. He was also a key player in helping the Boston Red Sox erase their eighty-six year Curse of the Bambino. In game seven of the 2004 ALCS he hit two home runs, one a game-clinching grand slam, to lead the Red Sox to victory over the Yankees. In the World Series he also hit a home run as Boston swept the St. Louis Cardinals.
Through his 4-year career with the Red Sox (2002–2005), Damon appeared in 597 games (590 in center field and seven as a designated hitter) and hit 56 home runs. Of his 2476 at bats, 2259 were as leadoff hitter. Damon batted 2nd in the lineup for 156 at bats in 2002, accounting for nearly all of the rest except for occasional pinch hit. He started two games as the #3 hitter in 2004. In 2005, he had 624 at bats, and all but three leading off. He also earned his 2nd All-Star selection, starting as the American League's center fielder. He led the AL with 35 infield hits, and matched the 35 doubles he'd hit in 2004.
New York Yankees
On December 20, 2005, Damon signed a four-year, $52 million contract with the New York Yankees. The Red Sox stood firm on a three-year contract and chose not to negotiate against a five-year deal proposed by agent Scott Boras. With the Yankees limited time offer and Boston general manager Theo Epstein's sudden resignation, Boras urgently attempted to contact team president Larry Luchino after failing to hear from the new co-general managers, but the Red Sox stood firm on their three-year offer.
Damon's signing with the Yankees led to his being subsequently vilified by many Red Sox fans because of his previously professed loyalty to the city and Red Sox organization, including his now infamous statement in May, 2005, where he claimed, "There's no way I can go play for the Yankees, but I know they're going to come after me hard. It's definitely not the most important thing to go out there for the top dollar, which the Yankees are going to offer me. It's not what I need."
As the Yankees have a strict dress code for players forbidding both long hair and facial hair beyond neat mustaches, Damon had his shoulder-length "cave man" hair cut and beard shaved on December 22.
In a pivotal 5-game series between the Yankees and Red Sox at Fenway Park, Damon went 3-for-6 in each of the first three games, including a doubleheader on Friday August 18, and a game on Saturday August 19. Damon hit two home runs, drove in eight runs, and scored eight runs in the first three games as the Yankees won by a combined score of 39–20 and dealt a severe blow to the Red Sox 2006 play-off aspirations.
In 2006 Damon finished 3rd in runs (115) and 9th in stolen bases (25) in the AL, while hitting 24 home runs, his career high. He also tied his mark of 35 doubles from the previous two seasons. He was only one of 4 players in the major leagues to hit at least 24 home runs and steal at least 24 bases.
On December 13, 2007, ESPN wrongly accused Damon of being in the Mitchell Report. They had reported hours before the report was released that his name was in the document. When it came out, his name was nowhere to be found.
On June 7, 2008, Damon went 6 for 6 in the Yankees 12–11 win over the Kansas City Royals, including a walk-off ground-rule double, which had bounced over the wall. He is the first Yankee to have six hits in a 9 inning game since Myril Hoag accomplished the feat in 1934. Damon said in a post-game on-field interview that this was his first walk-off as a Yankee.
On July 6, 2008 the Yankees placed Damon on the 15-day disabled list for the first time in his Major League career with a bruised Acromioclavicular joint in his left shoulder. The injury occurred a day earlier when Damon collided with the outfield wall in an attempt to catch a triple. At that time, Damon was one of only three active major league ballplayers who had played at least 10 years in the majors without going on the disabled list. He returned to active duty, and hit 27 doubles for the season. Damon hit 53 home runs in his three complete seasons with the Yankees.
On July 27, 2009, Damon hit his 200th career home run against the Tampa Bay Rays Brian Shouse.
Damon, after winning his second World Series, entered free agency after the 2009 season despite expressing his desire to return to the Yankees. He insisted that the Yankees not even make him an offer, however, unless they pay him at least the $13 million he earned for the past four years. As a result of his contract demands, the Yankees signed 1B/DH Nick Johnson to a one-year/5.5MM deal, despite Damon lowering his salary demands at the last minute. The Yankees then signed outfielder Randy Winn to a one-year/2MM deal which officially closed the door on Damon's return to the Bronx.
On February 22, 2010, Damon agreed to a one year, $8 million deal with the Detroit Tigers.
On April 14, 2010, Damon recorded his 1000th career RBI against the Kansas City Royals. On May 1, 2010, he hit a walk off home run against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitcher Scot Shields at Comerica Park to win the game 3-2. On July 6, 2010, Damon recorded his 2500th career hit off Jake Arrieta of the Baltimore Orioles and hit a walk off home run off David Hernandez, giving the Tigers a 7-5 win.
At the end of the 2010 season, Damon became a free agent.
Tampa Bay Rays
On January 21, 2011, Damon agreed to a one year, $5.25 million deal with the Tampa Bay Rays, while the Rays also signed his former Boston Red Sox teammate Manny Ramirez in a package deal suggested by agent Scott Boras.
- 1993 – [[Midwest League]] All-Star OF
- 1994 – [[Carolina League]] All-Star Royals Minor League Player of the Year
- 1995 – [[Baseball America]] 1st team Minor League All-Star, KC Royals Minor League Player of the Year, [[Texas League]] All-Star & Most Valuable Player, AA All-Star, and AA Player of the Year
- 2000 – KC Royals Player of the Year
- 2002 – All-Star (Inaugural American League [[All-Star Final Vote]] winner)
- 2005 – Baseball America 2nd-Team All-Star, American League All-Star
- 2009–2009 TYIB Award: Best Postseason Moment
In 2005, Damon wrote ''Idiot: Beating "The Curse" and Enjoying the Game of Life'' with Peter Golenbock.
Damon married his high school sweetheart, Angela Vannice, in 1992 when he was 19. They had twins together in 1999 before divorcing in 2002. In 2004Damon married Michelle Mangan, who gave birth to their first child in 2007. Johnny and Michelle welcomed their second daughter, Danica Rayne, in 2008.
Damon and his family reside in Windermere, Florida. While with the Yankees, Damon and his wife lived in Cresskill, New Jersey.Staff. New York Post, September 27, 2009. Accessed February 21, 2011. "With a downstairs living section in their Cresskill home, Damon and his wife, Michelle, welcomed the Robertsons in."
He is active with the Wounded Warrior Project, which works to raise awareness and enlist the public's aid for the needs of severely injured service men and women.Damon has appeared on MTV Cribs where he gave a tour of his home near Orlando, Florida.
Damon was one of the victims of the $8 billion dollar fraud allegedly perpetrated by wealth manager Allen Stanford.
As retrieved from Wikipedia
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