Kenny Lofton was the speedy ignitor at the top of the Cleveland Indians lineups during the 1990s. In addition to helping end the franchise's 40-year playoff drought, Lofton earned a reputation as one of baseball's greatest stolen base artists. While still very affordable, Kenny Lofton cards are seeing more interest from collectors. This list looks at a few of the top cardboard choices for fans looking to build their Kenny Lofton collection.
After focusing on basketball at the University of Arizona, Lofton was drafted by the Astros, quickly traversed through the minors, and made his Major League Baseball debut in 1991. Lofton was soon traded to the Cleveland Indians, where he would spend the majority of his career and become a fixture at the top of their lineup. Lofton teamed with Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez, and others to help the Indians win the American League title in both 1995 and 1997. He would spend the second half of his career chasing a World Series ring, appearing alongside numerous stars along the way, including Barry Bonds, Fred McGriff, Derek Jeter and Greg Maddux.
Although Lofton was a highly-regarded prospect, he did not attract the attention of many card companies, only ending up on the checklist for two 1991 baseball card products. Manufacturers more than covered for the low quantity of Lofton cards in 1991 throughout the first half of his career, making the star centerfielder a regular feature in their best products and inserts. There are not many certified autographs of Lofton from his active career compared to other stars from his era, but still enough to fulfill the demand.
In recent years, Kenny Lofton has appeared in several modern baseball card products and has greatly increased the number of certified autographs.
In terms of his hobby standing, the last big hurdle is Cooperstown. Although the Hall of Fame is uncertain, he still has a chance for a Veterans Committee/Eras Committees induction starting in 2025.
Top 10 Kenny Lofton Baseball Cards
Click on the card titles or images to shop for specific cards on eBay. Linked sets in the descriptions go straight to product profiles.
10. 1985-86 Tucson Police Arizona Wildcats Kenny Lofton
For most of the 1980s and 1990s, the Tucson Police Department issued cards of the Arizona Wildcats basketball and baseball teams. Kenny Lofton was actually a walk-on for the baseball team, but appeared in only five games while in college. Lofton's minuscule playing time on the diamond meant he was left off the checklist for the baseball card sets during his time at U of A. Meanwhile, Lofton logged significant minutes as a point guard on the basketball team. In fact, he is one of just two MLB players who have played in both the World Series and the NCAA Final Four. As an important player on the basketball team, Lofton made the Arizona basketball card set three times, starting with 1985-86. These Arizona Wildcats cards can be difficult to track down as the basketball checklist also includes Steve Kerr and Sean Elliott.
9. 2003 Donruss Signature Series Kenny Lofton Autograph #78
While there were a large number of autograph sets that were released during Lofton's playing career, he signed a relatively small number of cards. Furthermore, several of his certified autographs were short-printed or had challenging parallels to find. His 2003 Donruss Signature autograph is a favorite in the trading card community. The base autograph can be one of his more expensive autographs, but it's still well within reason for a Hall of Fame-caliber player. There was never a print run given for the base, but the Century parallel is limited to just 100 copies and the Decade parallel has a print run of only 10 cards.
8. 2001 Pacific Private Stock Kenny Lofton Patch Relic #54
Pacific had a long run as a licensed MLB card manufacturer, but that came to an end in 2001. Pacific released two 2001 baseball card products—their flagship base set and Private Stock—at the end of the 2000 calendar year. The Private Stock set was notable because the Hobby boxes were the first to offer a relic in every pack. It was also a controversial release due to the fact that Pacific included relic cards of Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, both of whom had exclusive agreements with other card companies. As for the Kenny Lofton relic cards, he has a base relic jersey, which is common and can found for a few dollars, but also a patch card. There is not a stated print run on the Private Stock patch cards, but they can be tough to find and far exceed the prices of common relics from the early 2000s.
7. 1994 Flair Hot Gloves Kenny Lofton #4
The Hot Gloves cards were inserted into Series 2 packs of 1994 Flair. The Flair brand was known at the time for its high-quality card stock and glossy finish, but the die-cut Hot Gloves cards helped the product stand out even more. These were groundbreaking cards at the time of Flair's Series 2 release. The die-cut Hot Gloves are still extraordinarily popular cards, but are also relatively easy to find and often have reasonable price points. The checklist focused on the top defensive players of the day, like Ken Griffey Jr. and Don Mattingly. At the time of its release, Lofton was a reigning Gold Glove winner, and he would go on to win multiple awards for his defense. This is the must-have insert for anyone putting together a collection of Kenny Lofton cards.
6. 1992 Fleer Update Kenny Lofton #U17
Kenny Lofton made his Major League Baseball debut during the 1991 season for the Houston Astros. He appeared in only two 1991 MLB products, leaving several card manufacturers to catch up after he was traded to the Indians in the offseason and stole an American League-leading 66 bases. Fleer included an Astros card of Lofton near the tail end of their 1992 base set, but also put him on the checklist of their Update product, which was sold as a boxed set. Collector interest in previous Fleer Update sets had been sparse, so the manufacturer produced smaller numbers in 1992, making the cards a little more scarce than the average junk wax boxed set. The 1992 Fleer Update Kenny Lofton is not a true first-year card, but collectors generally view this card as the equal of his two major rookies from 1991.
5. 1996 Select Certified Parallels Kenny Lofton #4
The Select Certified sets of the mid-1990s were the first to offer collectors a chance to complete a rainbow of their favorite player. Lofton did not appear in the premiere edition of Certified in 1995, but he made the checklist for the second release in 1996. Like all the players, Lofton has six colored parallels ranging in quantity from his Certified Red, with a print run of 1,800 copies, all the way down to the Mirror Gold, which has a print run of 30 copies. The colored Mirror parallels are tougher to find, all with print runs under 100, and are some of the most expensive parallels from the 1990s.
4. 1993 Topps Finest Refractor Kenny Lofton #43
1993 Finest was Topps' first venture into the world of "super-premium" baseball cards, joining Fleer and Upper Deck, who both released comparable products during the same calendar year.The '93 Finest set is still widely hailed as one of the most important modern releases by many collectors, largely due to the Refractor parallels. The Kenny Lofton Refractor is from early in his career and collectors have placed a premium on the short-printed parallel. Copies of the card can still be found on the secondary market, but regardless of whether you are looking for a raw or graded copy, this is amongst Lofton's more valuable cards.
3. 1996 Leaf Signature Series Kenny Lofton SP Autograph (1,000 copies)
As the first autograph-per-pack baseball product, 1996 Leaf Signature was ahead of the game. Lofton is one of 10 players in the set who only signed 1,000 copies as most of the signers penned 5,000 cards. His total breaks down into 700 Bronze, 200 Silver and just 100 Gold parallels. It is one of Lofton's more sought-after autographs, but he does have a tougher card in this series.
Kenny Lofton also appeared in Leaf Signature Series Extended, which acted as the second series. The card has a different picture, but similar to his card in the original run, the Extended Lofton autograph was short-printed to just 1,000 copies. Although both of Lofton's autographs have the same print run, the Extended card can be more difficult to come across. This is likely due to the fact that the checklist for the Extended set was much deeper. These autographs include Roger Clemens, Tony Gwynn, Greg Maddux, and other quality players who were not available in the main grouping.
2. 1991 Bowman Kenny Lofton RC #565
The Bowman product was not a prospect brand at this point, but the 1991 Bowman Baseball set is filled with important first-year cards of Chipper Jones, Jeff Bagwell, Ivan Rodriguez and Mike Mussina. All of those players had cards in numerous 1991 sets, which is not true of Kenny Lofton. As a "junk wax-era" card, this Kenny Lofton rookie card is widely available, and at very affordable prices. Regardless, it's a great card to add to your collection.
1. 1991 Upper Deck Final Edition Kenny Lofton RC #24F
1991 Upper Deck Final Edition was the first year that the UD offered an update set. The 100-card factory set included the only rookie card of Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez, along with rookie cards of Jim Thome and Kenny Lofton. The former Cleveland Indians teammates appeared in just two sets during the 1991 calendar year, with both showing up in Bowman and Upper Deck Final Edition. Similar to the Bowman card, this Kenny Lofton rookie card is a classic junk wax card. As there is a seemingly endless supply, it is quite affordable. This has long been regarded as the best Kenny Lofton rookie card to own.