|Team||Boston Red Sox|
|Years of Experience||10 years|
|Height||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Weight||205 lb (93 kg)|
|Place of Birth||Fort Riley, Kansas|
|Selection||1st round amateur draft, 1992.|
|Drafted by||Kansas City Royals|
|Major League Debut||August 12, 1995|
Johnny David Damon (born November 5, 1973 in Fort Riley, Kansas) is an outfielder in Major League Baseball with the Boston Red Sox. His mother Yome is of Thai descent and his father Jimmy is white; they met while his father was serving as a sergeant in the United States Army in Vietnam. He was born on an Army base, and spent much of his early childhood as an "Army brat," moving to several bases before his father left the Army and settled the family in the Orlando area. He was selected by the Kansas City Royals in the first round of the 1992 amateur draft out of Orlando Dr. Phillips High School; he was the 35th pick overall. He played for the Royals from 1995 to 2000, and spent 2001 with the Oakland Athletics before coming to Boston. He bats and throws left-handed.
During the 2004 season, Damon established himself as among the premier lead-off hitters and center fielders in the game today. At the plate, he batted .304 with 20 home runs and 94 RBIs, and showed an improved patience while batting. According to Damon's autobiography, he was only the 4th leadoff batter in the history of Major League Baseball to ever drive in more than 90 runs in a season.
Damon gained some notoriety for the prominent beard and long, uncut hairstyle he brought with him to spring training in the 2004 season, contrasting with his previously clean-cut appearance. His long hair and beard actually came from an unlikely cause - his head on collision with Damian Jackson during the 2003 playoffs. Damon lay on the field unconscious for approximately five minutes. When he came to, Damon was completely disoriented, believing that he was still playing for his old team, the Oakland Athletics. For several weeks thereafter, Damon continued to be very disoriented, as even today, Damon has a "spotty" recollection of Game 3 of the 2003 Championship Series against arch rivals the New York Yankees. For the entire offseason after this injury, Damon suffered extremely painful headaches, which he said came every afternoon around two o'clock. The headaches came to disrupt his life so much that he stopped shaving and having his hair cut. So by the time for the 2004 season to begin, he had an uncharacterstic big bushy beard and shoulder length hair. His new look, probably coupled with the runaway success of the recently-released Mel Gibson film The Passion of the Christ, inspired fans and sportswriters to draw good-natured comparisons between his appearance and that of Jesus. (Some people also drew comparisons to the late Jim Morrison, the lead singer of The Doors.) Fans with center-field seats at Fenway Park began showing up with fake beards and wigs to support their favorite center fielder. Sales of t-shirts that read "W.W.J.D.D." (for "What would Johnny Damon do?") and "Johnny is my homeboy" were robust. Even Bronson Arroyo was seen with a shirt that proclaimed, "What curse? We got Jesus on our side." Arroyo and "Jesus" helped record vocals to the Dropkick Murphys song "Tessie" before the season. The song received generally poor reviews, but can still be currently heard as part of the soundtrack for EA Sports' MVP Baseball 2005 video game.
On May 21, 2004, Johnny shaved his beard in a charity event sponsored by the Gillette razor company. The proceeds from the event went to benefit literacy programs in conjunction with the Boston public library. He regrew the beard and it remained for the rest of the season.
As a part of his exercise routine, Johnny admits to pursuing cars from one end of his block to the other on foot. "I live on a street (in the Orlando area) where the speed limit is 25 miles an hour and the police enforce it. At night I'd wait out there and when a car came by I would race the car home, so I think I can go at least 25 miles an hour. I scared some of the people, seeing a caveman racing after cars," said Damon in a Providence newspaper article early in 2004.
During the 2004 ALCS, Damon was in a bit of a slump, getting on base much less often than he had been during the regular season and the ALDS. However, he redeemed himself on October 20 by hitting two home runs, including a grand slam in the 2nd inning, to help the Boston Red Sox become the first team in major league history (and just the third in the history of American pro sports) to overcome a 3-0 series deficit, in a 10-3 victory over the New York Yankees in Game 7.
In 2005, Damon wrote Idiot: Beating "The Curse" and Enjoying the Game of Life with Peter Golenbock, and also appeared on Late Night With Conan O'Brien in April during a series against the Yankees. On June 7, 2005, he appeared on the hit Bravo TV series Queer Eye for the Straight Guy with four of his Red Sox teammates (Jason Varitek, Kevin Millar, Doug Mirabelli, Tim Wakefield).