Today in Tribe History: June 3, 1977
Bob Toth | On 03, Jun 2021
Designated hitter/first baseman Travis Hafner is born in Jamestown, North Dakota.
The future Indians slugger entered professional baseball after being selected in the 31st round of the 1996 amateur draft by the Texas Rangers. He signed with the club two days short of one full year later. He quickly showcased strong power in the minors, hitting 16 homers in his first full season and 28 in his next. By 2002, he was handling Triple-A pitching with ease, batting .342 with 21 homers and 77 RBI in 110 games, and he made his Major League debut on August 2nd of that season. The Rangers, however, were log-jammed at first base, with veteran Rafael Palmeiro and future star Mark Teixeira blocking his path to a regular spot on the roster.
After that season, he was dealt with pitcher Aaron Myette to the Indians in exchange for catcher Einar Diaz and pitcher Ryan Drese. “Pronk” would become a force in the middle of the Indians lineup, hitting as many as 42 homers and 117 RBI in 2006 and three times hitting over .300.
He spent ten years, many injury-filled towards the end, in Cleveland before signing as a free agent with the New York Yankees prior to the 2013 season in the final year of his career.