Johnny Damon
by Brian Lipton
Johnny Damon
Johnny Damon

Men of all ages lined up on the 10th floor of Lord & Taylor’s Fifth Avenue flagship on Wednesday, June 14 for the rare chance to shake hands and take a photo with Johnny Damon, the former baseball great who spent four years with the New York Yankees. And instead of being bedecked in pinstripes (or the uniform of any of the many other teams he played for during his long career), the 43-year-old Damon looked like the front page of a Lord & Taylor catalogue.

“My wife, Michelle, always wants me to look great at these events,” he told MR in an exclusive interview.  “You can tell when I am out as Yankee representative, because I have this clean-cut shave. It’s important that they are well-represented, not just because the Yankees have had this sponsorship with Lord & Taylor for three years, but because you want people to remember you as this former ballplayer. I don’t want to hear someone say ‘That guy used to play center field? What happened!’”

Damon admits that, like many men, his wife influences style. “When we’re together, I want to keep up with her,” he says. “So when she sees something I might like good in, she picks it up for me. And I don’t say no; I learned that lesson long ago.”

Still, Damon has some personal favorites of his own choosing. “I have these incredible jackets from Lansky’s in Memphis; he was Elvis Presley’s clothier. I can wear them with a t-shirt and jeans, and still look really nice, but comfortable. I don’t usually wear suits and ties, because my neck is hard to fit.”

As for when he’s home in Florida: “We have eight young kids, so it’s usually tennis shoes and workout clothes,” he adds.” They dirty me up a lot and I have to be fast on my feet once they start running around. Also, we’re around the pool a lot, so having the right swimsuit and flip-flops are very important.”

As Damon acknowledges, in recent years, athletes of all kinds have gained in stature as fashion influences. “Lots of men, not just kids, definitely look up to athletes. When you have guys like Odell Beckham Jr (of the New York Giants) and guys like him who are on social media all the time, it makes a difference. And even if I am not in the same league as Brandon Marshall (another NY Giant), who has something different to wear for every minute of the day, I can still hold my own.”