James Loney

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This article is about the baseball player. For the peace activist, see James Loney (peace activist).
James Loney
James Loney 2013.jpg
Tampa Bay Rays – No. 21
First baseman
Born: (1984-05-07) May 7, 1984 (age 30)
Houston, Texas
Bats: Left Throws: Left
MLB debut
April 4, 2006 for the Los Angeles Dodgers
Career statistics
(through May 26, 2014)
Batting average .285
Hits 1,114
Home runs 88
Runs batted in 562
Teams
Career highlights and awards

James Anthony Loney (born May 7, 1984) is a professional baseball first baseman for the Tampa Bay Rays of Major League Baseball (MLB). He has also played in MLB for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox.

Prep career[edit]

Loney had a stellar high school career (varsity 2000-02) at Elkins High School in Missouri City, Texas (suburban Houston). He hit .509 his senior season and also accumulated a record of 9-1 with a 1.80 earned run average as a pitcher, striking out 106 batters in 54 innings. After his senior year in 2002, he was named Player of the Year by Houston 5A Baseball, the Houston Chronicle and the Texas High School Writers Association, and was the Powerade Baseball Player of the Year (Texas). Prior to the draft, Baseball America tabbed him as the best pure hitter in the draft, as having the second-best professional debut by a high school player selected and the second-closest high school player to reaching the major leagues, sliding Daniel Kelly Calhoun (Mascoutah IL, 1994) down to the third-best in MLB history.[1]

Loney was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first round (#19 overall). He had signed with Baylor University to play college baseball, but opted to sign a pro contract.

Professional Baseball Career[edit]

Minor league career[edit]

Loney began his professional career with the Great Falls Dodgers, where he hit .371 and was named the top prospect in the Pioneer League by Baseball America. Loney appeared in 125 games for Single-A Vero Beach in 2003 and hit .276 with 7 homers and 46 RBIs.

In 2004, Loney was tabbed as the fourth-best prospect in the Arizona Fall League and made the All-Prospect Team voted on by league managers and coaches. However, he had an injury plagued season at Double-A Jacksonville. In 2005, Loney led the Southern League Champion Jacksonville Suns in hits and total bases.

In 2006, Loney led all of baseball, major and minor leagues, with a .380 average while playing for the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s. He was named the Dodgers Minor League Player of the Year, and was chosen as first-team Triple-A All-Star First Baseman by Baseball America.

Major league career[edit]

Los Angeles Dodgers[edit]

Loney made his major league debut with the Dodgers on April 4, 2006, against the Atlanta Braves. He received his opportunity when starting Dodgers first baseman Nomar Garciaparra was placed on the disabled list, freeing up a roster spot for Loney. Loney collected a single in his first major league at bat, against John Smoltz.

On September 28, in a game against the Colorado Rockies, Loney went 4 for 5 with 9 runs batted in, which tied a 56-year Dodgers franchise record for RBI in a single game, held by Gil Hodges. Loney accomplished this feat in only his 46th game with the team while still under 100 total at bats in his major league career. Because of his success in 2006 with both Los Angeles and Triple-A Las Vegas, he was named to the Dodgers' playoff roster. Filling in for an injured Garciaparra in game three against the New York Mets in the National League Division Series, Loney went 3-for-4 with three RBIs.

Despite Loney's stellar 2006 season, the Dodgers chose to re-sign Garciaparra for 2007-08, meaning Loney had to start the season back at Triple-A Las Vegas. On June 10, 2007, Loney was recalled to the Dodgers. His hot hitting forced the Dodgers to insert him into the starting lineup and move Garciaparra from first base to third base.

Loney was named the National League Rookie of the Month for September[2] and finished sixth in the voting for the 2007 NL Sporting News Rookie of the Year Award.[3][4]

Loney in on deck circle at Dodger Stadium, 2011.

Loney was a unanimous selection to the 2007 Topps Major League Rookie All-Star Team. The selection was the result of the 49th annual Topps balloting of major league managers.[5]

Loney began the season as the starting first baseman and had a 15-game hitting streak. He finished the season batting .289 with 13 HR and 90 RBIs. Loney led the team in runs batted in consistently for the entire year. On October 1, 2008, in Game 1 of the National League Division Series, Loney hit a grand slam off of Chicago Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster as the Dodgers went on to win the game 7-2.

Loney turned in numbers in 2009 similar to his 2008 numbers, hitting .281 with 13 home runs in 158 games as the team's starting first baseman. On January 19, 2010, Loney agreed to a new 1-year contract that substantially increased his salary from $465,000 to $3,100,000.[6] In 160 games in 2010, he hit 10 home runs and 88 RBI, while batting .268, his poorest stats since he joined the team.

On September 17, Loney hit a three-run pinch hit home run in his only plate appearance and the following day hit another three-run homer in his first at-bat, becoming the first Dodger to hit three-run homers in consecutive plate appearances since Jeff Kent on May 9–10, 2006. He finished 2011 by hitting .288 with 12 home runs, though his RBI total of 65 was the lowest since his rookie season.

In 2012, Loney continued his downward career slide, hitting .254 with only 4 homers and 33 RBI in 114 games with the Dodgers. Around mid-season he started platooning at first base with Juan Rivera.

Boston Red Sox[edit]

Loney with the Red Sox on September 16, 2012.

On August 25, 2012, he was traded to the Boston Red Sox (along with Iván DeJesús, Jr., Allen Webster, Jerry Sands and Rubby De La Rosa) for Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto and $11 million in cash.[7] He played in 30 games with the Red Sox and hit .230.

Tampa Bay Rays[edit]

On December 2, 2012, Loney agreed to a one-year $2 million deal with the Tampa Bay Rays. On July 23, 2013, Loney collected his 1,000 career hit in a game versus his former team the Boston Red Sox. On December 13, 2013, Loney and the Rays agreed to a three-year contract worth $21 million.[8]

Personal life[edit]

On November 14, 2011, Loney was involved in a traffic collision on the 101 freeway in Los Angeles. His sports car allegedly sideswiped three vehicles and came to a stop in the fast lane. He was arrested on suspicion of DUI and the incident was then investigated.[9] After subsequent toxicology tests came back negative, DUI charges against Loney were dropped in February 2012.[10]

He married his wife, Nadia, in 2013 and they have a son named Jordan James.[11]

References[edit]

External links[edit]