No. 238 Kenny Lofton (Number 22 Center Fielder)

One time I figured out how much credit each team should get for a hall of fame player. I figured out based on how much WAR and on how much a player played in the post season with a team. If a player stayed on one team like George Brett he was easy. He was 100 percent a Royal. However, some people would be really difficult like Gaylord Perry who played with a lot of different teams.

While just looking at Kenny Lofton’s career on Baseball Reference it would probably take me an hour to figure how much percent should go to each team. He played for 11 teams in his career. Besides the Indians he played for the other 10 franchises one year at most. At least we know he will be wearing an Indian cap at his induction if it ever happens. He played 10 of his 17 years in Cleveland and had his top 6 seasons there according to Baseball Reference WAR.

Lofton started his career in Houston. However, after playing only 20 games in 1991 at 24 years old he was traded for the Indians.  Kenny Lofton immediately became a star and was one of the best leadoff hitters in the game. He also had a great lineup behind him.

From 1992 to 1996 he led the league in stolen bases all five seasons with at least 50 every year. He hit for average, over .300 four of the five years. He didn’t walk a lot but walked some. Anyway, he had a .400 on base average in two of the years. He didn’t have a lot of power, but he did lead the league in triples once. He scored 132 runs in 1996. This was Lofton’s peak.

Then he was traded to Atlanta along with relief pitcher Alan Embree for David Justice and Marquis Grissom. Cleveland won that trade too. Grissom was ok, but Justice was great. Lofton played well but missed a lot of games. He also didn’t do well aa a baserunner. He was 27 for 47 stealing bases. It was the only time in his career he was caught stealing 20 times. However, Lofton batted .333 and had an on base percentage over .400. However, he scored only 90 runs in part because he played only 122 games.

Part of the reason for the trade was Lofton was going to become a free agent after the 1997 season. Well, he did, and he went back to the Indians. So, Cleveland had both Lofton and Justice.

Lofton scored 100 runs his first three years back in Cleveland. However, the third year 2000, Lofton had a lot of help from his teammates because he was just an average hitter. He didn’t steal as many bases but was 30 for 37 which is helpful to the team. However, for the rest of his career he was for the most part an average player, which is helpful to a team. However, he was no longer a great player.

However, he ended up in the post season six of those seven years. He was Cleveland in 2001. However, he was a below average hitter, so was granted free agency after the 2001 season.  In three of the next five seasons, he was traded to a team in competition for the playoffs. The teams knew he was no longer great, but he was an experienced solid player. The other two years, he started with playoff bound teams the Yankees and the Dodgers. Although some of these teams came close, none won the World Series title. Not very good luck to play in the post season 11 different years and never on a World Series winner. Those are the breaks.

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