Lofton On Home Runs: "That's Where The Money Is Going"

Young players only think about hitting home runs because that's what they're paid to do, Kenny Lofton says

The DA Show
July 09, 2019 - 11:45 am

Kenny Lofton broke into the big leagues in 1991. Rickey Henderson and Vince Coleman were contemporaries. Teams actually tried to steal bases, play small-ball and manufacture runs.

It was a glorious time.

“I signed with the Astros with that turf,” Lofton said on The DA Show. “I thought it was the perfect situation.”

It didn’t last long. Lofton, who hit .203 and stole two bases in 20 games for the Astros, was traded to Cleveland after the 1991 season. 

Then he averaged 65 steals a year over the next five seasons.

“Once they traded me to Cleveland, I just knew I was the guy,” Lofton said. “You always want to have a table-setter on the team to help with the big guys coming behind. I knew that’s what I wanted to do. I knew I was not going to go outside of that because I knew that’s who I was. Watching me play, they knew I wanted to be this table-setter. I wanted to be that guy. Next thing you know, they got me on the team.”

Unfortunately, there is no Kenny Lofton in today’s game. Small-ball is out; home runs are in.

That makes Lofton sad.

“Very much so,” the six-time All-Star said. “That’s part of the game that should be still there, and the game has gone away from that. Everyone is going to hit a home run, or they’re going to strike out. But people are getting paid to do that. (If) the agents and the clubs are saying, ‘We want you to hit a home run,’ then that’s what these kids are thinking about now is only hitting home runs. They’re not getting paid to get on base. If you’re not getting paid to get on base, why try to get on base? You want to hit the ball out of the ball park because that’s where all the money is going.”

Lofton said that transition has been “tough” to see.

“You got the shifts they’re putting on, you got these guys trying to get runners to get over – that’s how you manufacture runs,” he said. “But right now, manufacturing runs is only being done by hitting home runs. That’s what they’re trying now.”