Today in Tribe History: May 31, 1967
Bob Toth | On 31, May 2021
In East Chicago, Illinois, future Indians outfielder Kenny Lofton is born.
Lofton spent parts of ten seasons manning the outfield for the Indians after being acquired in what would be a lopsided trade for the club with the Houston Astros in 1991. Part of a crowded outfield mix in Houston, the former 17th round pick of the 1988 draft was dealt with Dave Rohde to Cleveland for pitcher Willie Blair and catcher Ed Taubensee.
Lofton’s star shined the brightest in Cleveland, where he finished second in the AL Rookie of the Year vote in his first season with the club in 1992 when he led the league with 66 stolen bases. He would accomplish that feat in each of the next four seasons as well and would start a streak of six consecutive All-Star appearances in 1994. He was traded by the club prior to the 1997 season to the Atlanta Braves, but returned as a free agent in the offseason and would remain with the club during his second trip until 2001.
Lofton went on to play for the Chicago White Sox, San Francisco Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Texas Rangers before he was dealt back to the Tribe by the Rangers in 2007 for minor league catcher Max Ramirez.
It turned out to be his last season as he would help the Indians return to the postseason, advancing within one win of the World Series in a heartbreaking collapse in the American League Championship Series to the eventual World Champs, the Boston Red Sox. He batted an even .300 in his Cleveland career with 452 stolen bases, still a club record.
Also on this date in Tribe history:
1995 – Tribe ace and Cy Young winner Shane Bieber is born in Orange, California.