Who are the most popular baseball players? How does one determine this? Is Johnny Damon one of them?
Here are some things that I dug up:
There are a few factors that go into how popular a baseball player's jersey is. He not only needs to be a great player, but also has to have that special something to make people love him. This list of players combines elite on field skills with a fan friendly personality to give them some of the most popular baseball jerseys on the market.
Derek Jeter - This shortstop for the New York Yankees always is atop the list of jersey sales. Not exactly a difficult thing to do when you're the star player on the most popular team in American sports. Jeter earns a spot on this list with his consistent and clutch play along with the vibe he exuviates as a superstar.
Manny Ramirez - One of the most likeable players in Major League Baseball, Ramirez's jersey sales have been off the charts since being traded to the Dodgers in the 2008 season. With him signing on this off-season to stay with LA his number 99 jersey is surely going to be at the top of the list. Ramirez is not only one of the best right-handed hitters of all time, but he has one of the most intriguing personalities with his acts being classified as "that's just Manny being Manny".
Albert Pujols - His number five jersey is very popular among his MLB peers. The St. Louis Cardinals have an incredible fan base and they have latched on to Pujols as their guy. Pujols doesn't exactly have the persona that makes him a must see interview, but his bat makes him a must see ball player.
David Ortiz - Of course there has to be a Red Sox player on the list and with Manny in LA, Ortiz steps up as the jersey to have in Boston. This power hitting lefty is one of the most exciting players to watch and when the game is on the line you know he's the one you want at the plate. "Big Papi" also has that little kid, fun loving attitude that we all like to see.
David Wright - The Met's third baseman is quickly proving himself as one of the best players in the game and his increasing jersey popularity is proof of that. In his five years with New York he has been an all-star three times. The average fan still has a lot to learn about Wright, but once they do the skies the limit for his popularity.
Some other popular MLB jerseys include Ryan Howard, Ichiro, Vladimir Guerrero, Alex Rodriguez (maybe not anymore), CC Sabathia (just recently), Jimmy Rollins, Alfonso Soriano, Mariano Rivera, Francisco Rodriguez, Lance Berkman, and Chipper Jones.
Notice, Chipper is on the list of most popular jerseys, but for some reason, Johnny Damon is not...Let's move on.
How about facebook? What players are the most popular on the networking site?
Here is a list of the top 10 according to www.everyjoe.com:
1. Derek Jeter
2. Josh Hamilton (Funny...I thought Damon was way more popular than Hamilton?)
3. Ryan Braun
5. Manny Ramirez
6. David Ortiz
7. David Wright
9. Joe Mauer
10. Jason Bay
Now, granted, this list was composed in 2008, so I am sure that there has been some shuffling in recent times. But, I think it is still safe to say that Johnny Damon is not even close to being in the top 10 (or even 20) on this list.
Well, what else can we look at? What other avenue to fans have to show who their favorite players are? How about All Star voting?
According to MLB.com, Johnny Damon finished 16th in total fan votes, in the American League alone. In fact, he had the 35th most votes of all the players, AL and NL. So, I guess he isn't that popular there either.
Oh, by the way, Chipper Jones and Brian McCann had more votes than Damon...
Bottom line: Johnny Damon is not one of the top 15 or 20 popular players in baseball and signing him will not result in increased attendance, contrary to what some (one) think(s).