Kenny Lofton becomes first Arizona alum to appear on Hall of Fame ballot

Posted by : | On : 11-30-2012 | Comments (1)
Dating back to the first National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot in 1936, the University of Arizona has never had a former player on the ballot.

This year, Kenny Lofton, a 17-year major league player, will be the first. He made his debut on the Hall of Fame ballot on Wednesday, Nov. 28.

The outfielder had a career .299 average accumulating 2,428 hits, 1,528 runs, and 622 stolen bases. He is ranked 15th all-time in stolen bases and led the American League five times in that category. Lofton won four Gold Glove awards and played in six All-Star games. He reached the playoffs in 11 of his 17 big league seasons, including two World Series appearances with the Cleveland Indians in 1995 and the San Francisco Giants in 2002.

Lofton was drafted out of Arizona by the Houston Astros in the 17th round in 1988. A point guard on U of A's basketball team, Lofton played baseball for only one season in Tucson. He appeared in five games, mostly as a pinch runner, and had one at-bat his junior year. His speed on the base paths is what got him noticed by another former Wildcat and then Astros scout Clark Crist.

According to Bill James’ Hall of Fame monitor Lofton’s chance of being selected into the Hall of Fame is “less likely” with a score of 91. Any player with a score over 100 is “more likely” to be chosen, while players under 100 are “less likely” to be selected.

Lofton’s biggest competition on this year’s ballot is former Montreal Expo Tim Raines, who was a speedy outfielder like Lofton and had similar career numbers. Last year, Raines was on 48.7 percent of the sports writers’ ballots on his fifth attempt to get into the Hall. Players must receive over 75 percent of the vote to be named to the Hall of Fame. Lofton is scaled higher then Raines on James’ H of F monitor by one point.

The next Arizona alum to be on a Hall of Fame ballot will be six-time gold glove award winner, J.T. Snow, in 2014. Trevor Hoffman, who will likely be the first Arizona Wildcat voted into Cooperstown, will be on the ballot in 2015. Hoffman’s 601 saves are the second most in major league history.

UPDATE: Kenny Lofton received 3.2 percent of the Hall of Fame vote on Wednesday, Jan. 9. Because he had less than 5 percent he will not be on the Hall of Fame ballot in the future.

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