Its an extremely slow news day here in the 216/440. Not exactly chock full of things to talk about, so I figured it would be nice to check in with two old friends.
Kenny Lofton, who was last seen being held up at third by Joel Skinner (UGH!), will be inducted into the Indians Hall of Fame on August 7th before a game with the Minnesota Twins. During a stellar 17-year career, Lofton’s time in Cleveland was what he is most remembered for. A four-time gold-glove winner and a five-time all-star during his three stints with the Tribe, Kenny retired (not to his liking) after the 2007 season as the Indians all-time stolen base leader. As an Indian, he hit .290 (1512-5045) with 87 Home Runs, 518 RBI, 975 runs scored, and 452 stolen bases.
During the Indians “era of champions” (which is a joke of a nickname considering they never won a World Series), Lofton was the igniter of the best offense in baseball. His return during the 2007 run to the postseason was not only a shot in the arm to the team (he took over the left field hole and hit .283) but a nostalgic move for the fans, who loved every second of having him back. As surly as he was known to be as a teammate, Lofton was still the straw that stirred the drink during the 90′s for the Tribe. His induction into the Tribe Hall of Fame is well deserved.
In other-Ex-Indian news, my all-time favorite member of the Tribe, Jim Thome, has finally found a home for the 2010 season. The Minnesota Twins have signed Thome to a one year, $1.5 million deal yesterday. The Twins will be Big Jim’s third AL Central team and his fifth overall (Indians, Phillies, White Sox, Dodgers). So we get to enjoy him owning us for another year, but this time as a Twin.
You may ask yourself where the at-bats will come from, considering Minnesota already has committed to Michael Cuddyer in right field, Delmon Young in left field, Jason Kubel at DH, and former MVP Justin Morneau at first base. You don’t sign a one-dimensional DH like Thome as an American League team just to be a pinch hitter. Manager Ron Gardenhire has his own ideas.
We play ‘em all and everybody is going to get at-bats,” Gardenhire said. “A guy like Jim, he’s not going to just come off the bench. He’s going to get his time playing and mix in at DH. … That’s the way you keep the guys going and keep everybody a part of it. We’ll get plenty of at-bats for him.”
The Twins seem like a good fit for the down-home, future Hall of Famer Thome. They were really excited about me coming there and so to me, it was a no-brainer,” said Thome, “I’ve always enjoyed the way they’ve played and how they’ve gone about their business. To be a part of that, it will be a lot of fun to go there and help them win.”
Gardy couldn’t be more excited.
“We just signed a guy that’s going to be in the Hall of Fame and it doesn’t get much better than that. One of the classiest acts in the game. A great hitter, a great player and great for our clubhouse. I think we got the package deal here.”
Meanwhile, the Indians are paying $14 million for their DH Travis Hafner this year. Who do you think has the better bag for their buck?