Photo via toledoblade.com
He may have been 40 years old at the time, but Kenny Lofton, the man who once stole two bases on a wild pitch, could still fly in 2007. The Cleveland Indians re-signed its former star midway through the '07 campaign, and the real life incarnation of Willie Mays Hayes became an integral part of the Tribe's deep playoff run. The Indians faced the Boston Red Sox in the American League Championship Series that year, and they blew a 3-1 series lead in true Cleveland fashion. During Game 7 of the ALCS, third base coach Joel Skinner would seal the Indians fate.
With his team trailing by a single run in the seventh inning, Lofton stood on second base with one out. Franklin Gutierrez laced a single that snuck into fair territory over the third base line, ricocheting off the camera bay at Fenway and rolling into left field, where Manny Ramirez lumbered to pick it up. Lofton was rounding third before Ramirez had even reached the ball, but Skinner decided to play it safe and hold Lofton at third. Casey Blake then promptly grounded into a double play, ending the inning.
Boston would go on to win the game 11-2, but who knows what would have happened if Skinner had let Lofton race home. The game would have been tied, momentum would have shifted, and maybe, just maybe, the Indians would have returned to the World Series for the first time since 1997.
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