Former Tribe outfielder Kenny Lofton enjoyed taking a quick ride down memory lane in sharing his thoughts on various moments and subjects regarding his career in Cleveland after being named a 2010 inductee into the Indians Hall of Fame. For your enjoyment below is an edited version of the teleconference.
* Why do you think fans never forgot you and always welcomed you back?
"I just treated the fans with respect and they did the same for me - it was a mutual thing. "I signed autographs every single day and it's something I enjoyed doing. The fans loved it, I loved it and I just had a good time doing it."
* What was your biggest moment in Cleveland?:
"When we beat Seattle to go the World Series."
* Do you often wonder how for as many good Indians teams you were on how none of them won a World Series?
"Man, yeah, I know. It was just one of those things. I think we had the team and the players to go out there and do it. It was just fate, it just wasn't our time."
* Now that you've now made the Hall of Fame in Cleveland, do you ever think of possibility of making it to Cooperstown?
"It's hard for me to say. I just went out there and did what I had to do on and off the field. Hopefully, that can show people. Now it's up to whoever (to decide)."
* You put up good numbers despite playing in the so called "Steroid Era". Do you think maybe down the road people will pay closer attention to what you were able to do?
"I hope they do because again, I was a guy who never did it, never tried to do it or wanted to do it. But I played against guys who obviously were doing it, so my competition level had to be at a certain level to compete with those guys who were what you call, cheating. So, I was not a cheater, so hopefully they took a look at that and take it into account."
* How many times did you want to scream knowing some of these guys were doing it, but you were trying to do it the right way?
"Constantly. But I did it the right way and always felt like the good guys always lose. I always felt that way in that situation, so I just sat back and kept doing what I was doing. You always say, things are going to come out in the light sooner or later - and that's what happened."
* What are you up to these days?
"I have a production company out in L.A. trying to do some TV and film. We're looking for some investors to do some of the movies I have going on right now."
* Do you remember the amazing catch you made that robbed Baltimore's B.J. Surhoff of a home run at Jacobs Field Aug. 4, 1996?
"Like it was yesterday. It was one of my most famous and memorable catches. The funniest part was looking at the guys in the bullpen when I reached over the b ullpen and caught the ball. I looked down at those guys and they were going crazy. I'll never forget it."
* Talk about Game Six of the ALCS in 1995 in Seattle when you scored from second base (on a passed ball) and how big that play turned out to be.
"I didn't know how big it was going to turn out. It was just me being aggressive on the basepaths when I saw the opportunity to use my speed. I looked at Randy Johnson and he had his back turned and everyone was kind of lolly gagging towards the ball so I just kept going."
*Who were some of the guys you looked up to coming up through the big leagues?
"One guy that really stood out was Kirby Puckett. Just the excitement he had and the way he always had a good time playing, although he played the game hard."
Here is the press release:
CLEVELAND, OH – The Cleveland Indians today announced the club has signed CA MIKE REDMOND to free agent Major League contract.To read more or comment...
The Indians signed veteran second baseman Mark Grudzielanek to a minor-league contract Tuesday that includes an invitation to spring training.
Grudzielanek, 39, has a career major-league batting average of .290 with five teams during 14 seasons, through 2008. He did not play in the big leagues last year, apparently because he was unable to find a suitable deal.
Grudzielanek signed with the Minnesota Twins during the season but never appeared in a game for them. He played 11 games in the Twins' minor-league system, playing for the Double-A Rock Cats when they visited the Akron Aeros late in the season.
The Indians made a minor-league deal Saturday, trading left-hander Zach Jackson to the Blue Jays for a player to be named. ¶
Jackson spent most of last year at Triple-A, posting a 4-8 record and 6.05 earned-run average in 30 appearances at Columbus, including 14 starts. He also pitched three times for the Tribe, once as a starter, posting no record and a 9.35 ERA in 82/3 innings. ¶
Cleveland acquired Jackson in July of 2008 from Milwaukee along with Matt LaPorta and Michael Brantley in the deal that sent C.C. Sabathia to the Brewers. Jackson has been assigned to Triple-A Las Vegas by Toronto. ¶
In addition to Duncan, the Tribe also signed a more notable free agent in former Reds and Nationals slugger Austin Kearns. See Indians press release below:
The Cleveland Indians today announced the club has signed OF AUSTIN KEARNS to a free agent minor league contract. The contract includes a non-roster invitation to Major League spring training camp.To read more or comment...
The Indians added a free agent to the mix Tuesday in former longtime New York Yankee minor leaguer Shelly Duncan. Here's the press release:
The Cleveland Indians today announced the club has signed INF/OF SHELLEY DUNCAN to a free agent minor league contract. The contract includes a non-roster invitation to Major League spring training camp.To read more or comment...