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Johnny Damon's perfect ending: reach 3,000 hits as Tampa Bay Ray then end career with Kansas City Royals

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The question is speculative, of course, but Johnny Damon has his reasons, some sentimental, for saying that if he were fortunate enough to be elected to the Hall of Fame, he would like to be inducted as a Royal.

"I think that would be the fairest thing," the designated hitter said Friday.

And he has some specific issues with the two teams he won World Series with, the Red Sox and Yankees.

Damon, 37, said a perfect scenario would be to stay with the Rays as long as he can, at least two more seasons to get the 328 hits he needs to reach the 3,000 milestone, then eventually return to finish his career with the Royals in a part-time role. He broke into the majors in 1995 and played six seasons with the Royals, whom he rooted for as a kid, having been born in Kansas.

"Like a final goodbye," he said. "That would allow the fans — they saw some glimpses, but they were never allowed to see me become a superstar (as he got traded after his stellar 2000 season to Oakland)."

Damon, in his first season with the Rays, said he would've considered representing the Yankees had they let him stay more than four seasons. "That's one of the tough things," he said. "That could have been them, easy."

He has no such feelings about the Red Sox, saying part of the reason he declined a waiver-claim trade there from Detroit last season was distrust for the Red Sox front office. "Who knows what Boston would have done?" he said. "Maybe I go there and they don't play me, and it's more about me than the team. Or maybe they release me and embarrass me. There's definitely no love between the front office and myself, so I can't trust them for anything."

Damon said he is aware of some current trade rumors and that since he doesn't have a no-trade clause — "that kind of stinks," he said — the Rays at least keep him apprised of the situation.

Johnny Damon's perfect ending: reach 3,000 hits as Tampa Bay Ray then end career with Kansas City Royals 07/22/11 [Last modified: Saturday, July 23, 2011 1:22am]
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