Kenny Lofton with the Indians in 2001.
Kenny Lofton's vagabond quest to win a World Series ring is bringing him back to Cleveland for a third time. The 40-year-old outfielder was acquired from the Texas Rangers on Friday for minor-league catcher Maximiliano Ramirez. Lofton returns to the one club with which he is most associated in a legendary career that has seen him embark on a odyssey to 11 major-league teams over the past 17 years.
When the Rangers were in Cleveland earlier this season, Lofton expressed a desparate desire to get back to the postseason.
"I just want another chance to win it all," he said. "That's why I'm still playing, to win a World Series."
He brings a wealth of playoff experience to an Indians team seeking to return to postseason play for the first time since 2001 -- when Lofton left Cleveland as a free agent followed the Tribe's early exit to the Seattle Mariners in the AL Division series.
Lofton has scored 61 runs in 84 career post-season games and has appeared in the playoffs in 10 of the last 12 years from 1995-2006 with six different teams.
Acquired by the Indians from Houston after playing 20 games for the Astros in 1991, Lofton became the catalyst of the Cleveland club that dominanted the AL throughout the 1990s.
He helped the Indians make it to the 1995 World Series, return to the playoffs in 1996, then was traded to Atlanta in a shocking blockbuster deal for outfielders David Justice and Marquis Grissom just before the start of the 1997 season.
He signed with Cleveland as a free agent in 1998 and went to the playoffs three times in the next four years with the Indians.
Since then, he has played for the White Sox, Giants, Pirates, Cubs, Yankees, Phillies, Dodgers and Rangers.
This season, Lofton hit .303 (96-for-317) with 16 doubles, three triples, seven homers and 23 RBI in 84 games for the Rangers. He also scored 62 runs and had 21 stolen bases in 25 attempts.
He has a career average of .299 (2,379-for-7,947) with 374 doubles, 113 triples, 130 homers and 766 RBI in 2,051 games over 17 seasons. His 620 stolen bases are tied with ex-Indian Otis Nixon for 12th all-time and his 1,504 runs tie Hall of Famer and former Indians player-manager Napoleon Lajoie on the all-time list.
Lofton is the Indians' franchise leader in stolen bases (450) and ranks third in club history in runs (951) and 10th in career base hits (1,463) and at bats (4,872). In his nine seasons with the Tribe, he hit .300 (1,463-for-4,872) with 951 runs, 235 doubles, 63 triples, 87 homers and 503 RBI in 1,224 games.
He led the American League over five straight seasons in stolen bases from 1992-96, stealing a single-season franchise record 75 in 1996. He was an All-Star selection five times while in Cleveland and won four straight Gold Glove Awards in centerfield from 1993-96.
Ramirez, 22, was acquired last July from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for veteran reliever Bob Wickman. The 5-foot-11, 170-pounder hit .303 in 77 games at Class A Kinston this season with 12 homers and 62 RBI and recently played in the Futures All-Star game.
In 304 career games in the minors, he has a .306 average with 77 doubles, 41 homers and 204 RBI.
Signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Braves in 2002 out of Venezuela, Ramirez began his pro career as a third baseman in 2004 in the Gulf Coast League before being switched back to catcher.