Today in Tribe History: August 6, 2002
Bob Toth | On 06, Aug 2015
2002 – Future Indians slugger Travis Hafner makes his Major League debut with the Texas Rangers in a pinch-hitting opportunity in the ninth inning against the Detroit Tigers.
Hafner entered with two outs in the ninth against knuckleballer Steve Sparks, who was one out away from a complete game. Down six runs, Rangers manager Jerry Narron inserted Hafner in the lineup for second baseman Michael Young, who was 1-for-2 with a single, a walk, and a run scored in three trips to the plate. Hafner followed Herbert Perry, the former Indians corner infielder, and struck out on a 3-2 pitch to end the game.
Hafner, a 31st round pick by the Rangers in the 1996 draft, would spend 23 games with Texas in 2002, hitting .242 with a homer and six RBI. He would be traded to the Indians after the season with reliever Aaron Myette for catcher Einar Diaz and pitcher Ryan Drese. He will have a productive ten-year career in Cleveland that was shortened towards the end by injuries, but he will hit .278 lifetime for the Tribe with 200 home runs, including 42 during his impressive 2006 season in what remains the last season an Indians player has amassed more than 33 homers in a year.