Travis Lee Hafner (Template:PronEng, born June 3, 1977) is a left-handed hitting designated hitter in Major League Baseball. Hafner currently plays for the Cleveland Indians of the American League Central Division. He attended Cowley County Community College in Arkansas City, Kansas. His nickname, "Pronk", was given to him by former teammate Bill Selby during spring training of 2002 when people would sometimes refer to him as "The Project" and other times "Donkey" for the way he looked when running the bases.
Major League career Edit
Hafner was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 31st round of the 1996 draft. In the winter of 2002, the Rangers traded him to the Indians along with Aaron Myette for catcher Einar Diaz and right-handed pitcher Ryan Drese. Hafner enjoyed moderate success with the Indians in 2003, splitting time between first base and designated hitter. On August 14, he hit for the cycle in Minnesota, the first Indian to accomplish the feat since Andre Thornton in 1978.
In 2004, Hafner had a breakout offensive season. As the primary DH in the Indians line-up, he finished the season in the top ten in the league in on-base percentage (.410, 3rd), slugging percentage (.583, 4th), doubles (41, 6th), extra base hits (72, 7th), RBI (109, 9th) and batting average (.311, 10th). He also hit 28 home runs (16th in the AL) and scored 96 runs (20th in the AL). He topped the .300 mark in batting average each month of the season except August–when he hit a respectable .274–and was particularly hot in July, hitting .360 with 8 HR and 28 RBI. He hit his first career grand slam in the Indians' home opener on April 12 against Kyle Lohse of the Minnesota Twins.
At the beginning of the 2005 season, the Indians signed Hafner to a 3-year contract through 2007 with a club option for 2008. He responded by exceeding his impressive offensive production of 2004. He was again among the league-leaders in on-base percentage (3rd, .408), slugging percentage (3rd, .595), doubles (5th, 42), walks (7th, 79), extra base hits (8th, 75), batting average (9th, .305), home runs (9th, 33) and RBI (9th, 108). He also scored 94 runs. The American League named him Player of the Month for June, when he posted a .345 batting average with 10 doubles, 8 HR and 29 RBI in 24 games. He continued to swing a hot bat the first full week of July when he was named Player of the Week after hitting .480 with 4 HR and 12 RBI in 8 games. On July 16, he was hit in the face by a pitch thrown by the Chicago White Sox's Mark Buehrle and was placed on the 15-day disabled list on July 26. After returning from the DL on August 4, he hit .296 with 15 HR and 45 RBI over the remaining 54 games of the season. He finished the season with a flurry, hitting home runs in six straight games from September 18–24, the second longest such streak in Cleveland history. After the season, the Cleveland chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) named him Indians Man of the Year and he finished fifth in the AL Most Valuable Player voting.
The 2006 season saw Hafner firmly establish himself as one of the premier power hitters in the game. For the third straight season, he posted MVP-caliber numbers while anchoring the middle of one of the most potent offenses in baseball. His season was cut short when on September 1, he was hit on the hand by Texas Rangers pitcher C.J. Wilson. The Indians placed him on the disabled list for the rest of the season on September 9 after X-rays revealed a broken bone in his right hand. At the time of the injury, he led the league in slugging percentage (.659) and walks (100); was second in home runs (42), RBI (117), total bases (299), on-base percentage (.439) and extra-base hits (74); and was third in runs scored (100). He also batted over .300 (.308) for the third consecutive season. He finished 8th in the league MVP voting by the BBWAA.
On July 7, Hafner became the first player in Major League history to hit five grand slams before the All-Star break and passed Al Rosen in the team's season record book when he connected off Kris Benson of the Baltimore Orioles. He joined Hall-of-Famer Ernie Banks of the 1955 Chicago Cubs, Jim Gentile of the 1961 Orioles and Don Mattingly of the 1987 Yankees as the only players to hit at least five grand slams in a season. In September 2006, the Seattle Mariners' Richie Sexson also joined the five grand slam club.
A little more than a month later, on August 13, Hafner tied Mattingly's single-season record when he cracked his sixth grand slam of the season off Luke Hudson of the Kansas City Royals. His league-leading 13 home runs and 30 RBI combined with his .361 average in the month of August earned him AL Player of the Month—the second time he has been honored as such in his career.
|MLB-record six Grand Slams|
|1||05/01||Chicago White Sox||Brandon McCarthy||Progressive Field (1)||8-6 L|
|2||05/17||Kansas City Royals||Jeremy Affeldt||Progressive Field (2)||5-0 W|
|3||06/03||Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim||Brendan Donnelly||Progressive Field (3)||14-2 W|
|4||07/01||Cincinnati Reds||Joe Mays||Great American Ball Park||12-7 W|
|5||07/07||Baltimore Orioles||Kris Benson||Progressive Field (4)||9-0 W|
|6||09/13||Kansas City Royals||Luke Hudson||Progressive Field (5)||13-0 W|
Hafner set the single-season club mark with 39 home runs and 110 RBI as a DH, surpassing Andre Thornton's 1982 totals of 32 home runs and 109 RBI. He became the second Indian ever to record 100 walks, 100 runs and 100 RBI in the same season (Jim Thome did so in 1997, 2001 and 2002). His .659 slugging percentage was the sixth highest in team history.
Hafner's 2007 regular season was sub-par, as his numbers dropped from the previous two seasons. He batted .266 for the season, compared to .308 in 2006 and .305 in 2005. He also hit 24 home runs and 100 runs batted in, his 4th straight season of 100+ RBIs. Some critics point to Hafner's sub-par performance being due to unfinshed contract negotiations, but Hafner denies this. Despite a lackluster first half, the Indians signed Hafner to a four-year, $57 million contract extension during the All-Star break, keeping him in Cleveland through the 2012 season.
|Major League Totals||718||2477||430||706||171||10||146||502||402||600||7||6||.393||.539||.285|
- Hafner is a huge fan of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), especially the wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin.
- As of the end of the 2007 season, Hafner ranked first all-time for career home runs by a player born in North Dakota with 142. Darin Erstad was second with 114. (Note: Although Roger Maris was raised in North Dakota, he was born in Hibbing, Minnesota.)
- Hafner is one of only five players to hit five grand slams in a single season and one of only two to hit six. Don Mattingly had six in 1987, while Jim Gentile (1961), Ernie Banks (1955) and Richie Sexson (2006) each had five grand slams in a single season.
- Hafner was valedictorian of his high school class of a dozen students.
- Hafner's favorite road city in baseball is Chicago and his favorite road stadium is Safeco Field.
- Hafner hit his first career home run August 11, 2002 while playing for the Texas Rangers against the Indians. In addition to the home run, he had two doubles and a single in five at-bats, driving in three runs and scoring two. He nearly hit for the cycle in this game, but was thrown out at third base while attempting the triple. The Indians traded for him the following off-season.
- In April 2006, Malley's Chocolates of Cleveland unveiled the 'Pronk Bar', a milk chocolate candy bar named in honor of Hafner.
- In November 2006 Travis married his sweetheart, Amy Beekman
- Hafner's new product, "Pronk Beef Jerky" hit shelves in mid-2007.
- Top 500 home run hitters of all time
- Hitting for the cycle
- Major League Baseball hitters with three home runs in one game
- ↑ Pronk Of the Plains. SI.com (January 24, 2007). Retrieved on 2007-10-25.
- ↑ Hafner hits for cycle as Indians whack listless Twins again. SI.com (August 14, 2003). Retrieved on 2007-04-05.
- ↑ Riske finally closes door on Indians win. Sportsline.com wire reports. The Associated Press (April 12, 2004). Retrieved on 2007-04-05.
- ↑ Hill, Justice B. (April 13, 2005). Indians sign Hafner to three-year deal. MLB.com. Retrieved on 2007-04-05.
- ↑ Hill, Justice B. (July 5, 2005). Hafner named AL Player of the Month. MLB.com. Retrieved on 2007-04-05.
- ↑ Thesier, Kelly (July 11, 2005). Hafner latest AL Player of the Week. MLB.com. Retrieved on 2007-04-05.
- ↑ "Headache sends Indians' Hafner to DL; Braves' Hampton down with bad back", USA Today, The Associated Press, July 27, 2005. Retrieved on 2007-04-05.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Cleveland Indians: Media Guide 2007 (PDF), MLB Advanced Media, 147. Retrieved on 2007-04-05.
- ↑ Pluto, Terry. "Hafner, Boone honored by baseball journalists", Akron Beacon-Journal, November 6, 2005, p. C3.
- ↑ "A-Rod edges Ortiz for second AL MVP in three seasons", CBS SportsLine.com wire reports, The Associated Press, November 14, 2005. Retrieved on 2007-04-05.
- ↑ MLB.com (September 9, 2006). Hafner to miss the rest of the season. Press release. Retrieved on 2007-04-07.
- ↑ Pronkville opens for business.
- ↑ Indians DH blasts team record fifth grand slam. ESPN.com. The Associated Press (July 7, 2006). Retrieved on 2007-04-07.
- ↑ Sexson records 5th grand slam of season in M's 7-2 victory. The Seattle Times. The Associated Press (September 8, 2006). Retrieved on 2007-04-07.
- ↑ Hill, Justice B. (August 13, 2006). Hafner ties Mattingly for slams in season. MLB.com. Retrieved on 2007-04-07.
- ↑ Yanik, Kevin (September 5, 2006). Hafner earns Player of the Month honors. MLB.com. Retrieved on 2007-04-07.
- ↑ Travis Hafner Profile sports.yahoo.com
- ↑ Tribe, Hafner ink $57M, 4 -year extension mlive.com
- ↑ Atkin, Ross (August 22, 2006). Some call him Pronk, but he's really Mr. Grand Slam. Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved on 2007-04-05.
- ↑ Castrovince, Anthony (April 9, 2006). Notes: Sweet start for Hafner. MLB.com. Retrieved on 2007-04-08.
- ↑ Castrovince, Anthony (November 17, 2006). Notes: Early posting results unhelpful. MLB.com. Retrieved on 2007-05-02.
- ↑ Pronk's Beef Jerky. Retrieved on 2007-10-15.
- Baseball-Reference.com - Major league career statistics
- MLB.com player info page
- The Baseball Cube player page
- The Pronk Shift
|American League Player of the Month|
|Single season Grand Slam record holders|
1987-present (Mattingly) 2006-present (Hafner)
|DATE OF BIRTH||1977|
|PLACE OF BIRTH|
|DATE OF DEATH|
|PLACE OF DEATH|