The good news is that the Cleveland Indians are coming off a season in which they made the playoffs! The bad news is that one of the most popular Indians of the past 20 years not only looked to invalidate that in the press this off-season, but might have alienated himself from these new Cleveland Indians in the process. Anthony Castrovince uncovered the tale of playoffs, current Indians leader Nick Swisher and the archetype Cleveland Indians center fielder, Kenny Lofton and it reads a bit ugly for someone like me who always wants everyone to get along. The thought of Swisher and Lofton being at odds when the Indians seem set on potentially doing something good in this new Terry Francona era makes me sad. It’s especially sad to me when I think they’re both right in their own way. [Read more...]
In the third of our series, we look at the best outfield/DH groupings of the past 20 years. The Jacobs/Progressive Field era has seen so many powerful bats, but easily the top of the heap came from this group. From Albert Belle to Travis Hafner, we have been blessed to see some incredible performances. But who was the best of the best? I’m sure it won’t be hard for you to guess….. [Read more...]
Hope you had a nice weekend.
Some thoughts this fine Sunday evening…
The Browns should know conclusively that Jason Campbell is a nice backup and nothing more. Probably better than Seneca Wallace and Jake Delhomme, so not a candidate to be the long-term starter. Maybe they really did know this all along as he was consistently their last choice all year until they mercifully concluded that Weeden couldn’t play either.
Edwin Baker ran hard and it didn’t leave me impressed with him as much as I’m shocked that the Browns haven’t been able to find guys to run the ball with that level of energy all the time. Even Brandon Jackson seemed to run with more urgency than Willis and Fozzy. Seems like it should be easy to find, although maybe it’s confidence. Confidence is something rarer. [Read more...]
I was reading on Twitter this morning that it is Kenny Lofton’s birthday. That led me to go to YouTube to see if I could find the highlights for one particular game. I found it. Kenny had four hits, five steals and hit the walk-off homer to win the game in extra innings against the Orioles.
Happy 46th birthday to one of the greatest Cleveland Indians of all time. Now, bask in the highlights.
The great heist. You’ve seen the movies. An all-star cast gets together to pull off one big job. Along the way there are hi-jinx and laughs. Plot twists force our gang to change plans or everyone gets caught. It’s a great concept.
So I was thinking what if we made a team with Cleveland athletes?
I proposed the question twitter and took in some responses. [Read more...]
With me being off the ballot, what I accomplished during the steroid era meant nothing. You look at the people who voted for the Hall of Fame. I think there might have been 600. They still voted for people who were cheating the game. It boggles my mind that the people you know cheated, who admitted they cheated, are still on the Hall of Fame ballot. That is sad. It’s really sad for baseball. [...] For me to go out and cheat it that way, that’s not respecting the game I love. I just feel the reason these guys cheated was because of the money. They didn’t care about the Hall of Fame. If you would have cared about the Hall of Fame, you wouldn’t have even thought about cheating. It was all about money.
– Former Cleveland Indians outfielder Kenny Lofton, 40, in a recent conversation with Paul Hoynes of The Cleveland Plain Dealer. Lofton, who despite hitting .299 with 2,428 hits and 1,528 runs while making the postseason 10 times, only received 3.2 percent of the vote in one of the more controversial Hall of Fame seasons ever. He will no longer be eligible for the ballot without an exemption from the Hall of Fame’s veteran’s committee — an excruciatingly slow process to endure.
While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at email@example.com.
Leading off, Chris Pokorny at Dawgs By Nature gives his take on Mike Lombardi joining the Browns, “Banner clearly liked working with Lombardi during their short time together in Philadelphia. I think Tom Heckert could have stayed with the team if he had been able to retain the general manager position in the same capacity, but I don’t think he was interested in a reduced, collaborative role that he would have had to play with Banner and others. Without question, I would have preferred Heckert over Lombardi. Heck, given the negativity surrounding Lombardi, I would have preferred a lot of other candidates over Lombardi. Given the fact that we knew this would be a reduced role, though, I just don’t think this is, “the end of the world.”” [Dawgs By Nature]
Former beloved Tribe centerfielder Kenny Lofton used to play hoops pretty well, you know. The Classical has a really great profile about it, “The Wildcats celebrated their coming out party with a good old-fashioned snowball fight, and Lofton played a starring role in that battle, too. “Basically, it was Kenny versus the rest of us because he had such a ridiculous arm. He was throwing snowballs like 100 miles per hour, just knocking guys off their feet,” Mason Jr. remembers. “Afterwards, we said to him, ‘Man, you should play baseball.’” Eventually, Lofton would take the suggestion seriously. But the East Chicago, Ind. native had some work left to do on the hardwood before he’d trade in his sneakers for spikes.” [The Classical] [Read more...]
If you were reading and paying much attention to the buzz surrounding this year’s HOF voting, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the BBWAA didn’t elect anyone to the hall this year. Barry Bonds, Mark McGuire, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa and those associated with the steroid era were denied. The closet was Craig Biggio, who fell 39 votes shy of the 75 percent required for election.
Cleveland Indians Kenny Lofton (3.2%) and Sandy Alomar Jr. (2.8%) did not receive enough votes to remain on the ballot for next year.
[Related: the Lofton HOF case]
In what is another sign of the Indians’ heyday of the mid-90s being a distant memory, several members of the teams to make it to the 1995 and 1997 World Series have been named to the latest release of the MLB Hall of Fame ballot.
Kenny Lofton, Sandy Alomar Jr., Julio Franco and Jose Mesa appear on Hall of Fame ballot for the first time. #indianselite.
— paul hoynes (@hoynsie) November 28, 2012
As notated by The Plain Dealer’s Paul Hoynes, long-time Indians Kenny Lofton, Sandy Alomar Jr., Julio Franco and Jose Mesa could potentially be enshrined in Cooperstown, joining Roberto Alomar and Eddie Murray as players from the same era. All first-timers, these four Tribe greats are joined by Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Craig Biggio and Sammy Sosa among the ballot freshmen.
The left-handed Lofton finished his illustrious career having made six All-Star teams, earning the Gold Glove award four times and leading the league in stolen bases on five separate ocassions. Lofton wrapped up a 16-year career tallying 622 stolen bases and was, per Baseball-Reference, worth 65 wins.
Alomar, presently the bench coach for the Cleveland Indians, spent 11 years as a player with the Tribe, representing the team six times as an All-Star. He was Rookie of the Year in 1990 and garnered MVP consideration in 1997. In his 20 seasons at the big league level, Alomar recorded an OPS of .716 and was worth 11.5 wins.
The ageless Franco was arguably one of the best pure hitters to wear an Indians uniform, averaging .298 over the course of his 23-year career. Appearing in three All-Star games and winning the Silver Slugger award each of those three seasons, Franco obtained MVP consideration in 1988, 1991 (where he hit .341) and 1994. Recording 2,589 hits despite several stints overseas, Franco was worth 39.7 wins.
Mesa, who may be the least popular member of this bunch, was in the league for 19 years, seven of which were with the Cleveland Indians. Saving 46 games in 1995, Mesa was second in Cy Young voting and fourth in MVP voting. He recorded 321 games over the course of his career.
The Hall of Fame Class of 2013 will be announced on Jan. 9, 2013
Everyone has a take on the comments made by Indians closer Chris Perez over the weekend. Everyone including former Indian Kenny Lofton, who expressed his opinion via twitter.
When responding to questions by fans what he thought of Perez’s comments, Lofton had this to say-
“crazy …he doesn’t know anything about Cleveland”
“Just win and stop disappointing the fans”
Lofton certainly benefited from outstanding fan support during his stints with the Tribe. Looks like he is trying to return a little of the love.
UPDATE: Lofton went on the Baskin and Phelps show on 92.3 The Fan this afternoon and expanded on his thoughts. Worth a listen.
[Related: Chris Perez's comments, the good, the bad...]
I can still remember the feeling in my gut last year when the Tribe was playing the dastardly Boston Red Sox and Carlos Santana did (what we thought at the time was) a Joe Theisman impression. It was soul crushing because the Indians hadn’t even been all that interesting up until the point that Santana showed up in Cleveland. I love the Tribe, but even the most die-hard have to admit that Santana’s arrival injected some life into a relatively lifeless year last year. According to DP who was already in full man-crush mode on Santana from watching him in Columbus, we just had to see his swing. The minute he showed up we could see it.
In Carlos Santana’s second game he went two for four with a homer and three RBI. That was June 11th. By the end of the month, Santana was putting on a show. He had his average all the way up to 0.345 with an on-base percentage of 0.458. In 18 games that June Santana went hitless five times, had one hit seven times and had more than one hit six times. He had 15 RBI in eighteen games. We were talking about a kid who hadn’t played a lot of baseball in Columbus let alone at the major league level. He played 57 games in Columbus before getting time behind the plate for the major league squad. [Read more...]
In what is annually one of the best celebratory events of the year, the 2011 Greater Cleveland Sports Awards went off without a hitch last night, commemorating the best of all things Cleveland sports.
Taking place once again at Cleveland’s Renaissance Hotel, 1250 individuals joined together for the annual fund-raising event benefiting the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission. Amongst the main sponsors and local corporations in attendance, the GCSA allows for a very interactive evening as those in attendance have the opportunity to mingle with some of the area’s more beloved athletes of past and present.
With 59 home games in the books, the Indians have drawn 1,051,837 fans – a number which has been boosted as of late thanks to back-to-back (rockin!) firework nights and the induction of former center fielder Kenny Lofton into the team’s Hall of Fame. While these events have been beneficial for walk-up sales and all-around fan morale, every other non-event game since opening day has been sparsly attended at best, compounding the term “non-event.” [Read more...]
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. [Read more...]
In the third and final part of the Tribe trade deadline history, we examine the sell-off of ’06, the re-emergence of contention in ’07, followed by what we now see is the reality in ’08, causing another fire sale that included one of the greatest Indians pitchers of all time.
July 20, 2006 Indians trade RHP Bob Wickman to Atlanta for C Max Ramirez – After reading in Part two what Wickman had done for the organization, there is no point to rehash it again. The Braves were looking for a closer, since John Smoltz had moved back into the rotation, and Wickman was a proven veteran there for the taking.
With Kelly Shoppach not yet in the organization, there was a void of top catching prospects in the system after Victor Martinez. Ramirez was tearing up A ball, hitting .292 with 13 homers and 63 RBI’s. With Max still a couple of years away from making a major league impact, it was a no brainer for the Braves.
We would hear from Max Ramirez again later…. [Read more...]
Shaq is coming to town. He’s a pretty popular guy. I was inspired by the trade and our friends at the Ghosts of Wayne Fontes. The idea here is the most beloved Cleveland sports athletes of my time. Figure a starting point of 1980. (I was 8, and really that is about the earliest I remember following the scene closely.) These are not my favorites, just the ones that I think the city embraced the most. Hence the most beloved. So here we go-
1. Bernie Kosar- If LeBron James signed a 6 year contract extension tomorrow he could leap-frog Bernie I believe. But Bernie was the real deal. He wanted to play quarterback for the Cleveland Browns. It was his dream. He wasn’t a very graceful player, and he had terrible mechanics, but he was one of us. Much of that has come to light in the last few weeks with the attention he has gotten over his finances. Make no mistake- during the mid to late ’80s Cleveland was Bernie’s town. Songs were written. Boys were named for him. When he was unceremoniously dumped mid-season it cemented his place in our hearts. He never wanted to leave. He was run out of town by his coach.
2. LeBron James- Simply put the most talented athlete ever to wear Cleveland across his chest. [Read more...]
A big story making the rounds today is in regard to former Tribe outfielder and current Los Angles Dodger Manny Ramirez and his recent thoughts on wanting to finish his career in Cleveland. You know, the place where it all started? “I think to go back where you started is everyone’s dream,” claims Ramirez.
The baseball fan in me first thought, “Wait. This guy just signed a huge contract with the Dodgers. He went most of spring training in a hold out of sorts, waiting for just the exact deal to hit the table. It’s now exactly ONE week into the season (let alone his brand new $40 million contract) and he’s already talking about where he wants to go next?”
And that was shortly followed by, “Oh man. This is just what is needed right now with the team off to a terrible start and a good chunk of the city still clinging to the memories of the late 1990s.” To add a little more excitement to the proverbial mix, Ramirez has also reportedly been in contact with Jim Thome (also a former Tribe slugger) who wil be a free agent at the end of this season. Theoretically, both players could hit the market this summer and return to their roots.
For a season that was such a disappointment as a team, individual members of the Cleveland Indians continue to real in awards.
We documented the new awards to hit Cliff Lee’s mantle. And not long thereafter, Franklin Gutierrez nabbed one of his own. And now, it’s time for another Tribe outfielder to garner some recognition as Grady Sizemore received his second straight Gold Glove Award. [Read more...]
Now that we have had a few days to soak in the final ramifications involved with dealing away last season’s Cy Young award winner, I felt that it was appropriate to discuss the Tribe’s newest addition: Michael Brantley.
If you had read any of my takes on the trade prior to last week, you were likely aware that Brantley was the guy I had pegged since day one. Is it the nostalgia involved with the days of Kenny Lofton? Or is it the fact that I would love to eventually see Grady Sizemore moved to the third spot in the lineup? Perhaps, it is a combination of both, coupled with the fact that Brantley is a very, very talented player.
But while I have learned a lot about Brantley from doing some of my own research, I was able to touch base with Milwaukee Brewers blogger Jim Breen from Bernie’s Crew to help dissect this now complete deal.
What started as a way to bring you up to speed with former Indians Ryan Church and Ryan Ludwick has turned into quite the feature over here at WFNY. But some of you may be saying, “Who the heck is Max Ramirez?”
Max, whose full first name is Maximiliano, is a 23-year old catcher that resides in the farm system for the Texas Rangers. He was a Dominican League All-Star third baseman in 2003, Appalachain League All-Star as a catcher in 2005, and Carolina League All-Star again as a catcher in 2007.
In Double-A ball, Ramirez is hitting .360/.451/.650 (1.101 OPS) with 17 home runs and 50 RBI.
Oh, and he’s the guy we traded away last July for three-months of Kenny Lofton.