Sunday, March 16, 2008

Indians Uniform Number - 7 Kenny Lofton

Choosing All-Time Triber #7 was even more difficult than I imagined it would be. While there were a lot of players who sported the Number 7 during their careers, in truth, only three wore #7 for an extended period of time: Al Rosen, Hal Trosky, and Kenny Lofton.

As I mulled over the top three, I eventually narrowed it down to Rosen and Lofton. Rosen is a perennial favorite of many Indians fans (including myself). Lofton is a player that fans generally love, as his repeated returns to Cleveland have shown.

So, how did I choose a guy who is still playing over a guy who has Cleveland written all over him? It was not easy. After all, Rosen played in roughly 240 FEWER games, yet had more than 100 MORE home runs and roughly 200 more RBIs. Lofton has a better overall average. His other stats also generally run much higher, but I feel that is related to the fact he played in more games. What swayed the choice in Lofton's favor for me though was the fact that he is still playing after 10 seasons, and playing WELL at that. Add to that the fact that Rosen was 33 when left baseball and Lofton is 40+. During last year's World Series showing, he was not only the guy who gave leadership, support and encouragment to his underlings (in terms of experience and age), but who also went out there to get a job done. It is unfortunate that the Indians could not bring him the championship ring he so richly deserves.

I have to admit I was dismayed when I found out the Tribe was not keeping him around. I had high hopes that Lofton would retire in an Indians uniform. Despite what the back office does, Lofton is a fan favorite, one of MY favorites, and one of the all-time great Indians players.

(Number 7 Part 1) (Number 7 Part 2) (Number 7 Part 3)

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