Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Memories of Kenny Lofton

One of the best moves made by the Giants in 2002 was a deadline deal for Kenny Lofton for two prospects. So instead of Tsuyoshi Shinjo, the team had a another fine centerfielder who could actually hit. He played two months on the team and got the winning RBI in the NLCS. He started the rally in the 8th with a single and scored on Bonds long sac fly, then concluded a 2-out rally in the ninth with a single that scored David Bell for a 2-1 vic.

Then he went 9 for 31 in the Series. He'd racked up a 3.7 WAR in 2002 between the Chisox and the Giants, but the Giants didn't sign him. He was 35 at the time but a fine centerfielder. The Giants decided to sign another 36-year old to play centerfield -- Marquis Grissom.

EPSN has now come up with a list of all-time under-rated players that the dingbat Hall of Fame voters can't recognize, such as Lou Whitaker (nearly 75 WAR) and Lofton (over 68 WAR)...

 CF: Kenny Lofton (1991-2007)
Stats: .299/.372/.423, 622 SB, 1,528 R, 2,428 H
Career WAR: 68.2
Higher WAR than ... Duke Snider, Richie Ashburn, Kirby Puckett

Here's something that may shock you: Among players who played at least 50 percent of their career games in center field since 1901, Lofton ranks seventh in all-time WAR, behind only the legends -- Willie Mays, Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, Mickey Mantle, Ken Griffey Jr. and Joe DiMaggio. But he was one-and-done on the Hall of Fame ballot. I'd say that makes him underrated.


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