ST. PETERSBURG -- Johnny Damon's first-inning double Saturday against the Marlins didn't just lead to the Rays' first run, it put him in elite company.
With the two-bagger in Tampa Bay's 7-4 win, Damon became the 11th player in Major League Baseball history to rack up 500 doubles, 100 triples, 200 HRs and 2,500 hits in his career. The milestone was met with a standing ovation from the 20,495 in attendance.
"The fans were incredible," Damon said. "I know that this is my first three months with the team, but the fans really showed me how much they cared and how they respected what I just accomplished."
Damon joins George Brett, Lou Gehrig, Goose Goslin, Rogers Hornsby, Willie Mays, Paul Molitor, Stan Musial, Babe Ruth, Al Simmons and Robin Yount as the only other players to accomplish the feat. All 10 are members of the Hall of Fame.
Rays manager Joe Maddon believes that Damon should be inducted when he chooses to retire.
"You look at all the stuff he has done, and when you talk about deserving the Hall of Fame, absolutely," Maddon said. "He deserves not only strong consideration, but acceptance."
For now, Damon, who attended Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando, Fla., is just appreciative of the chance to play baseball near home.
"I'm just enjoying playing so close to home for the Rays," he said. "It's really a dream come true for me. There's nothing like being a Floridian so close to home, and playing for the team that I'm going to be rooting for, for a very, very long time when my playing career is over. It's awesome."