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Kenny Lofton

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Kenneth Lofton

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[edit] Biographical Information

Kenny Lofton was a high-average hitter with base stealing talent who was valuable at the top of the line-up for many years. He retired with a career .299 batting average, 622 stolen bases (# 15 on the all-time list) and four Gold Gloves. While not known as a slugger, his 130 home runs were the most by any major leaguer from the University of Arizona, a school that had produced quite a few big leaguers.

Lofton played for 11 teams in his major league career (through the middle of 2007), only one away from the record of 12 teams set by Mike Morgan.

Lofton played for the University of Arizona where he was also on the basketball team which reached the Final Four in 1988. He was signed as a 17th round pick in the 1988 amateur draft by the Houston Astros and scout Clark Crist at age 21 and broke in with 21 games at the age of 24 in 1991. The next year, he was traded to the Cleveland Indians for Eddie Taubensee.

After a decent rookie year during which he stole 66 bases, he became a star in the 1993 expansion year when he hit .325, fourth in the league, scored 116 runs, and won a Gold Glove. The next year, he was again fourth in the league with a .349 average, leading the league in hits, winning another Gold Glove, and finishing 2nd in the league in runs scored. In 1995, Lofton became the first player since the 1961 expansion to have three multi-triple games in a season; it would be 9 years before Carl Crawford topped him with four such games.

He continued to play quite well in 1995 and 1996 for Cleveland, and then in 1997 he was traded to the Atlanta Braves. He hit well there, with a .333 average, and Atlanta won 101 games, but he wasn't happy and returned to Cleveland the following season.

His hitting and stolen bases started to slip as he aged. In 2002, at the age of 35, he became a journeyman, playing for the Chicago White Sox, the San Francisco Giants, the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the Chicago Cubs in partial seasons in 2002 and 2003, for the New York Yankees in 2004, for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2005, and for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2006. On occasion he hit quite well, such as in 2005 when he hit .335 in 110 games. At age 39 in 2006, he hit .301, higher than his lifetime major league average of .299. He also stole 32 bases, getting caught just 5 times. In 2007 he hit .296, close to his lifetime average, and again stole successfully, with 23 steals in 30 attempts. Even at the age of 40, he continued to steal bases well, to hit lots of triples, and to hit for a decent batting average. However, no team was interested in signing him in 2008, and he had to retire.

He has four Gold Gloves. He has never won an MVP award, but was 4th in 1994. He has led the league in stolen bases six times, in hits once, and in triples once.

In 2007 he scored his 1,500th run, and was part of the 2007 Cleveland Indians team that won its division for the first time in seven years. At the time, Lofton was # 54 on the all-time list for runs scored, just behind Frankie Frisch.

The most similar player to Lofton (based on the similarity scores method), is Tim Raines. There are two Hall of Famers on the similarity list through age 40: Fred Clarke and Enos Slaughter. He became eligible for election to the Hall of Fame in 2013 but received only 3.2% of the vote and was dropped from the ballot.

Kenny Lofton and David Wells share the record for the most different teams in the postseason. Each has appeared for six teams.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • 1992 Topps All-Star Rookie Team
  • 6-time All-Star (1994-1999)
  • 4-time AL Gold Glove Winner (1993-1996)
  • AL At Bats Leader (1996)
  • AL Hits Leader (1994)
  • 2-time AL Singles Leader (1993 & 1994)
  • AL Triples Leader (1995)
  • 5-time AL Stolen Bases Leader (1992-1996)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 6 (1993, 1994, 1996 & 1998-2000)
  • 200 Hits Seasons: 1 (1996)
  • 50 Stolen Bases Seasons: 6 (1992-1996 & 1998)

[edit] Star Trek connection

His nephew Cirroc Lofton played Jake Sisko on the TV show Deep Space Nine; during an episode entitled Take Me Out to the Holosuite about a futuristic game of baseball, Cirroc wore an Atlanta Braves cap as a tribute to his uncle Kenny who was playing for the Braves at that time. [1]

[edit] Notes

  1. http://memory-alpha.org/en/wiki/Take_Me_Out_to_the_Holosuite_%28episode%29

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