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Rays Tales: Johnny Damon's hit list

Johnny Damon, from his time with the Yankees, knows Reggie Jackson well. Well enough to know Jackson wasn't going to call or text his congratulations last week when Damon passed him on the all-time hits list. "I think Reggie still believes he can go out there and play," Damon said. "So he may suit up again and try to pass me." Damon, though, was more than happy with the accomplishment and the ball as a keepsake to mark it. "All this stuff is cool," Damon said. "When you start seeing childhood idols that you start passing in certain categories, it's pretty awesome." Damon, with 2,588 hits that rank 78th overall, has a few more targets — and a few more souvenirs — in sight:

2,605 Tim Raines T-73rd (w/Rabbit Maranville)

Since Raines grew up in Sanford and Damon in Orlando, there are local bragging rights at stake. "He's got the most hits from Orlando, and if I pass him, that mark goes to me," Damon said. He's not sure what he'd get for such a record, though, because he already got a key to the city in 2004.

2,654 Ted Williams 71st place

Damon never got to meet Williams, but the respect is obvious. "The Ted Williams one would be very special," Damon said. "The greatest hitter of all time."

3,000 Roberto Clemente, 27th

It's not so much about the man, but the number, which typically was the standard to reach the Hall of Fame. "There's only a select few, but if you look at all the numbers in the history book, a lot of them are scarred now," Damon said, mentioning Pete Rose (4,256 hits) and Rafael Palmeiro (3,020). "I don't know how they're going to look at our generation. I don't know if they're going to classify the guys who used and the guys who haven't. I think I've put myself, being able to play all these years, into a pretty good category — a guy who hasn't used, a guy who's put up all these numbers, a guy who's stayed healthy, a guy who's won championships. I just think more numbers will definitely help, especially the runs scored. I'm already top-50 in that. Play a couple more years, I could be top 20, and that's what actually wins you games."

The legend keeps growing …

More on the Legend of Sam Fuld, which last week included features in the New York Times and SI.com (which named him MLB's biggest early surprise star), a T-shirt giveaway by the Triple-A Iowa Cubs and a series of unofficial shirts being sold on eBay:

A Twitter

Fuld has become a popular topic on Twitter — the #legendofsamfuld stuff remains hilarious reading — and is now leaning toward opening his own account. (The several with his name attached are not legit.) But he'd like to tie his account in as a fundraising tool for juvenile diabetes research and awareness: "I think Twitter would be a good way to spread the word about that."

Friend with benefits

Fuld went to the same New Hampshire prep school — Exeter Academy — as Mark Zuckerberg, who went on to fame and fortune as founder of Facebook. They weren't close, as Fuld was a couple of years ahead and went on to Stanford, but there was a payoff when a common friend, A.J. Solimine, who was at Harvard with Zuckerberg, tipped Fuld off to Facebook and he got one of the initial accounts, which he still has. "I'm thinking it would be right around No. 100," Fuld said. "I've been using it a lot lately because I've been hearing from some folks I haven't heard from in a while."

Not half bad

Fuld has been embraced by Jewish sports fans, given the limited number of big-leaguers. But technically it should be only a half hug. Fuld's father, Kenneth, is Jewish, but his mother, Amanda Merrill, is Catholic, and Fuld and his sister, Annie, grew up celebrating both sets of holidays.

Rays Rumblings

Former Rays All-Star closer Roberto Hernandez will be on the field during the next homestand to talk with and provide insight to the pitchers, the start of what could be an ongoing advisory role. … The Rays eventually might look to deal CF B.J. Upton, as well as RHP James Shields, but not until much deeper into season — depending on their record — making last week's reports of the Nationals' interest in the Virginia native well overblown. … Like Joe Maddon does at times, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen travels with a bicycle and goes on regular rides. … Minor-leaguers SS Hak-Ju Lee and LHP Frank De Los Santos were quarantined in a Port Charlotte motel for nearly two weeks until they recovered from chicken pox and were cleared to resume play. … Checking on Evan Longoria's karma: He had a car stolen and his spring home burglarized, got hurt in the second game of the season and forgot his passport for the trip to Toronto.

Got a minute? Cesar Ramos

Must-see TV show? Tosh.0 (on Comedy Central).

Big-night-out meal? Definitely steak and mac and cheese.

Band or singer you'd most like to be on stage with? Lil Wayne.

Worst job? I've never had a job. So mowing the lawn at home in L.A. on Sunday afternoons.

Dream date? There's so many. How about any of the Victoria's Secret Angels girls.

Rays Tales: Johnny Damon's hit list 04/23/11 [Last modified: Saturday, April 23, 2011 6:41pm]
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