Look what looks can do

In the early balloting for the starting outfield for the American League All-Star team, Baseball-Related Program Activities 2004 favorite Johnny Damon is a strong third.

Now, much as I hate to admit it, Johnny Damon is definitely not the third-best outfielder in the American League.

While he was on the All-Star team in 2002, he has never come close to being voted to a starting berth. And it’s not like he’s off to an extremely good start this season. His .282/383./400 line is perfectly acceptable, but it’s not like he’s setting the world on fire.

Not with his bat, that is. We all know why Johnny Damon might make the All-Star team: Who doesn’t want to have the coolest-looking player in baseball representing the American League at baseball’s coolest position? Well, aside from a few silly Yankees fans, that is. Even without the beard, he deserves the starting nod.

Internet voting is allowed. Vote early and often, and this might be the best All-Star game since the one Bud Selig ruined–which happens to be the one in which Johnny Damon went 1-3.

Original comments…

maura: you can only vote up to 25 times! so don’t vote too often, there.

Jim: I punched out a lot of all-star ballots for Johnny Damon, among others, at the Devil Rays-Rangers game (because my father dumped a bunch of them in my lap, and there was nothing else to do). No wonder he’s running third!

Steve: this is only partially related but on Wed night, Vladimir Guerrero (leading AL outfield vote getter) had 9 RBI in a game. I looked around a bit for the single game record to no avail. Jim? Levi?

Jim: According to the chart that was in Thursday’s L.A. Times, the record is 12, held by both Jim Bottomley of the Cardinals (who did it on September 16, 1924) and Mark Whiten of the Cardinals (September 7, 1993). The A.L. record is 11, held by Tony Lazzeri of the Yankees (May 24, 1936).

Levi: I was listening to the Mark Whiten game. It was something.

His feat is impressive because he drove in all 12 on home runs. Four of them.

Secho: I was thinking Whiten was probably the worst player ever to hit 4 HRs in a game (and this is a category that includes Mike Cameron); despite hitting 25 homers and driving in 99 in 1993, Whiten had only a .746 OPS. How do you drive in 99 while slugging .423? Hell, even Kevin Elster slugged .462 when he inexplicably drove in 99 runs. Okay, Johnny Damon’s only slugging .416 with 31 RBI, but I’ll grow a mullet if he’s sitting at 100 RBI with his current line at the end of the season.

Anyway, I thought Whiten was the worst 4-homer player unil I stumbled upon Pat Seerey, who did it for the White Sox in 1948. He was a career .224 hitter who only played 4 games in 1949 before being cut and never played again. This after leading the Sox with 18 homers and 64 RBI in 1948. Even Seerey had a .768 OPS that season, though, so I may be switching my vote back to Whiten.

Levi: Whiten really was a bad hitter, a mistake hitter who would flash such impressive power on those few bad pitches he hammered that he’d have you scratching your head.

Whiten somehow only hit 13 doubles in 1993, which goes a long way (with his lousy batting average) to explaining his low slugging percentage. And the RBI were (Here’s where I wish Dan Rivkin was reading this blog regularly), I’m guessing, about 40% Gregg Jeffries (.342/.408/.485), 20% Ray Lankford (.238/.366./.346), 20% Bernard Gilkey (.305/.370/.481). God knows where the other 20% came from.

Oh, and Jim Bottomley was known as Sunny Jim Bottomley.