Kendall with the Kansas City Royals
|Born: June 26, 1974|
San Diego, California
|April 1, 1996, for the Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Last MLB appearance|
|August 30, 2010, for the Kansas City Royals|
|Runs batted in||744|
|Career highlights and awards|
Jason Daniel Kendall (born June 26, 1974) is an American former professional baseball catcher. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1996 through 2010 for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Oakland Athletics, Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers, and Kansas City Royals. He is the son of former catcher Fred Kendall, who played in the majors from 1969-1980.
Kendall attended and played at Torrance High School in California, where he tied a national high school record by hitting safely in 43 straight games. He was drafted out of high school in the first round of the 1992 Major League Baseball draft (23rd overall pick) by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Jason Kendall was born on June 26, 1974, in San Diego, California. He was drafted out of high school in the 1st round of the MLB draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates and later played for the Oakland Athletics, Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers and the Kansas City Royals. He met his wife, Tricia Kendall, in 2010 in Kansas City where he ultimately retired as a player after 20 years. Together, they are raising their four children: Ethan, Kuyper, Cole and Karoline.
Kendall made his major league debut in 1996. In his rookie year, he hit .300, made the National League All-Star Team, and was named NL rookie of the year by The Sporting News (he finished third in voting for the MLB Rookie of the Year award). He was also an All-Star in 1998 and 2000.
From 2002 through 2004, Kendall led all major league catchers in games and innings behind the plate. He is the Pirates' all-time leader in games caught.
During the 2005 season, Kendall struggled at the plate. His .321 slugging percentage was the worst (by 20 points) among all major league players who qualified for the batting title. His .271 batting average was the second-lowest of his career. In the field, he allowed 101 stolen bases, more than any other catcher in major league baseball. However, he did bat leadoff for Oakland, something that is very rare to see out of a baseball catcher.
The 2006 season marked Kendall's first post-season appearance, as the Athletics clinched the 2006 American League Western Division championship on September 26. He recorded his first playoff hit in the second game of the American League Division Series off Minnesota's Boof Bonser.
During a game against the Angels on May 2, 2006, Kendall was involved in another bench-clearing incident. John Lackey threw a pitch that started high and inside to Kendall, and then broke back towards the plate. Kendall stepped out of the batter's box and began yelling at Lackey, who told him to stop leaning over the plate with his elbow guard sticking out, trying to be hit by a pitch (as Kendall has been known to do throughout his career). Kendall then charged the mound and wrestled with the 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) Lackey. The two spun around as catcher Jeff Mathis fell behind Kendall who was then punched in the ribs by Lackey, and the two tumbled to the ground.
On July 16, 2007, he was traded to the Chicago Cubs for fellow catcher Rob Bowen and minor league pitcher Jerry Blevins. At the time of the trade, Kendall had the lowest on-base percentage (.261) and second lowest slugging percentage (.281) of any starter in major league baseball for 2007. In the field he allowed 111 stolen bases (131 attempts, 20 caught), more than any other catcher in major league baseball.
On November 21, 2007, Kendall agreed to a one-year deal with the Milwaukee Brewers. Kendall threw out roughly 40% of base stealers in 2008. Upon making his 110th start of the 2008 season, Kendall fulfilled the option in his contract, securing himself a spot in the Brewers lineup in 2009.
On May 18, 2009, Kendall recorded his 2,000th career hit, becoming the eighth full-time catcher to reach that milestone.
In 2009, he had the lowest slugging percentage of any starter in the major leagues, at .305.
During his two years with the Brewers his AVG, OBP, and SLG were .244, .329, and .315.
Kendall underwent season-ending surgery on September 3, 2010, on his right shoulder after an MRI exam revealed extensive tearing in his rotator cuff. He missed the entire 2011 season because of this injury. He became a free agent after the 2011 season.
Kendall was known as a fundamentally sound catcher who was very good at blocking pitches and handling pitching staffs, despite a relatively weak throwing arm. At the plate, Kendall was known for his very open batting stance and was a contact hitter who tended to "crowd" the plate. He was known to not use batting gloves. He was known as fiercely competitive, and was involved in several bench-clearing brawls. Kendall was also hit by pitches frequently as a result of his batting stance; he was hit 254 times, which is fifth all-time.
In addition to being a target for being hit by pitches, Kendall was also a stolen-base threat. His 189 stolen bases are second all-time in MLB history in the modern era to Roger Bresnahan for stolen bases by a player primarily playing catcher for his career. His 26 stolen bases in 1998 are also a single-season record for a catcher in the modern era. Kendall's plate discipline and rare speed at the catcher position also enabled him to be used as a leadoff hitter. Kendall started the game batting leadoff in 438 of his 2,085 games played, including 119 of his 147 games in 2004 and 90 of his 143 games in 2006 (leadoff is defined as starting the game as the first player to bat for his team and having at least two at-bats in the game).