This story originally ran on September 8, 2012, but in honor of Kenny Lofton’s birthday today, we re-posted it from our vault.
Each week through the 26 weeks of the 2012 regular season, DTTWLN will profile and break down the roster of arguably the most exciting sports team that Cleveland has ever seen; the 1995 Cleveland Indians. The ’95 Tribe won 100 games in a strike-shortened 144 game schedule, won their first Central Division title and made the playoffs and World Series for the first time since 1954. Six players made the American League All-Star team, eight players batted .300 or better, and the pitching staff had the lowest ERA in the American League. The players have been ranked from the most important to the Tribe’s success to the 26th. This week breaks down #4 Kenny Lofton.
Thank God for Craig Biggio.
If it wasn’t for Biggio, the 1995 Indians would not have been what they turned out to be. The Tribe would not have won 100 games. They would not have made the playoffs with such ease. They probably would not have made their run to the World Series. They certainly would not have articles being written about them almost 20 years later. Without Craig Biggio, the city of Cleveland surely wouldn’t have had their most exciting sports run in recent memory and we wouldn’t have seen the greatest leadoff hitter of the 90’s flourish right under our noses.
Seriously…thank you Craig Biggio.
So what does Craig Biggio, a Hall of Famer who never played a game for the Indians (or for any other team besides the Houston Astros), have to do with the Indians famous run of success? Indirectly, he played a huge role.
From the beginning of his career in 1988 through 1991, Biggio was the Astros everyday catcher. His sweet swing kept him in the Houston lineup daily, only getting a break from the rigors behind the plate with an occasional game played on the Astrodome’s turf outfield. The hardship that comes along with the catcher’s position took its toll on Biggio’s knees, and the Astros organization knew that a position change was necessary if their best hitter was going to last for the long haul.
By Evan Matsumoto
It may have been his shining moment as a baseball player:
Kenny Lofton stepped into the batter’s box during Game 6 of the 1995 installment of the American League Championship Series only to see Seattle Mariners’ ace Randy Johnson returning his gaze. The mid-October air was chilled but alive—the Indians could clinch the series with a win or would be forced into Game 7 with a loss.
Clinging to a 1-0 lead in the eighth inning, Lofton dug in to face Johnson just moments after Johnson gave up a leadoff double to Tony Pena. With a man in scoring position, Lofton laid down a bunt that trickled up the third baseline. Lofton beat the throw to first. Two pitches, a stolen base and a 180-foot dash later, the Tribe was up 4-0.
The rest, as they say, is history. The Indians lost the 1995 World Series to the Atlanta Braves in six games. In 1996, despite claiming the best record in baseball, the Tribe was knocked out of the playoffs in the Division Series.
By Ronnie Tellalian
The Indians All-Time team wraps up with the designated hitter. This choice is admittedly biased since I chose my favorite player for the DH spot. To me, he was an exciting player to watch and I was glued to the screen for every plate appearance. He is arguably the best leadoff hitter in Indians history and possibly the best of the 1990’s. His return to Cleveland after a six year hiatus was a lasting memory and tribute to a true Indians great.
Designated Hitter: Kenny Lofton
On this week’s podcast Erik Pinkerman and Ronnie Tellalian discuss their reaction to Trevor Bauer meeting the Cleveland media and their opinions of the Baseball Hall of Fame voting.
Be sure to download the podcast on iTunes.
Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty …
By Bob Toth
There were undoubtedly some surprises that stemmed from the announcement Wednesday afternoon that no players from the ballot would be voted in as part of the 2013 National Baseball Hall of Fame induction class. It was the eighth election by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America that failed to produce a new member to the Hall, and the first such election since 1996.
This vote, unlike many others in recent history, came with its fair share of controversy. This year’s ballot marked the first appearances of tainted legends Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Sammy Sosa. Additionally, several other former stars, including Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro, have pasts linked to performance enhancers as well.
This ballot became quite possibly the most criticized ballot of players in the history of baseball. Maybe even the most criticized in the history of sports.
In this week’s podcast, Erik Pinkerman, Ronnie Tellalian and Mike Brandyberry have an in-depth discussion about the new Baseball Hall of Fame ballot including whether Kenny Lofton belongs in the Hall. Mike has an interview with 850-AM ESPN Cleveland’s T.J. …
By Bob Toth
If you are a fan of the Cleveland Indians, chances are you have vivid memories of Kenny Lofton mesmerizing fans and players alike with his incredible speed.
When the ball was hit anywhere in the general direction of Lofton, a part of you believed he would find a way to track it down, whether it was at a full sprint, flying through the air, or scaling the outfield walls. At the plate, if he put the ball on the ground in the infield, there was a fair chance he could beat it out to first base. Once he reached base, he would electrify his teammates and the fans by moving himself quickly into scoring position with a stolen base, setting the table for easy RBI opportunities for the lucky batters hitting behind him in the lineup.
Lofton was a special kind of player, and for that and his longevity in the league, he was honored this week by being named as a candidate on the 2013 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot.
The 2013 season will mark the 20th year of baseball at Progressive (ie Jacobs) Field. It’s been a relatively short history (although with the stadium building boom in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Progressive Field is the 13th oldest facility in the majors). Did the Tribe Win Last Night? has compiled a list of the 20 most memorable moments in the field’s history. We’ll count them down while we wait for Opening Day.
By Vince Guerrieri
19. Kenny Lofton’s return – July 27, 2007
It’s still regarded as one of the best trades in Indians history.
Eddie Taubensee was a backup catcher behind Sandy Alomar Jr., and was expendable. So the Indians sent him to Houston for, among others, a speedy outfielder named Kenny Lofton, who played on a Final Four basketball team at Arizona.
Compiled by Jason Kaminski
On this date in 1967 former Cleveland Indians star outfielder Kenny Lofton is born in East Chicago, Indiana. Lofton played for the Tribe at the start of his career from 1992-96, leading the league in stolen …