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Jason Kendall

This article is about the baseball player. For the musician and video game designer, see Jason "King" Kendall.
Jason Kendall
Kendall with Kansas City Royals
Born: (1974-06-26) June 26, 1974 (age 46)
San Diego, California
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 1, 1996 for the Pittsburgh Pirates
Last MLB appearance
August 30, 2010 for the Kansas City Royals
Career statistics
Batting average .288
Hits 2,195
Home runs 75
Runs batted in 744
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Career highlights and awards

Jason Daniel Kendall (born June 26, 1974) is an American former professional baseball catcher who played in Major League Baseball from 1996 to 2010. He is the son of former catcher Fred Kendall, who played in the majors from 19691980.

High school

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.

Professional career

Pittsburgh Pirates (1996–2004)

Kendall made his major league debut 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.

In 1999, he suffered a season-ending injury when he dislocated his ankle while running to first base in a July 4 game against Milwaukee after attempting to beat out a bunt.[1]

On May 19, 2000, Kendall became the first Pirate to hit for the cycle in Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Stadium and Kris Benson pitched a three-hitter in a 13–1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.[2]

On November 18, 2000, Kendall signed a six-year contract extension worth $60 million. The contract made him the second-highest-paid catcher at the time, behind Mike Piazza.[3]

In 2002 and 2005, he led the majors in at-bats per strikeout (18.1 in 2002, 15.4 in 2005).[4] He also led the major leagues in 2005 in times reached base on an error (15).[1]

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.[citation needed]

Oakland Athletics and Chicago Cubs (2005–2007)

File:Jason Kendall RS P7242002.jpg
Kendall batting for the A's.

After the 2004 season, the Pirates traded Kendall and cash to the Oakland Athletics for Mark Redman, Arthur Rhodes and cash.

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 benches-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 Script error: No such module "convert". 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.[5] 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.

Milwaukee Brewers (2008–2009)

File:Jason Kendall.jpg
Kendall with the Brewers in 2008.

On November 21, 2007, Kendall agreed to a one-year deal with the Milwaukee Brewers.[6] 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.[7]

In 2009 he had the lowest slugging percentage of any starter in the major leagues, at .305.[8]

During his two years with the Brewers his AVG, OBP, and SLG were .244, .329, and .315.

Kansas City Royals (2010–2012)

On December 11, 2009, Kendall signed a two-year contract with the Kansas City Royals.[9]

Kendall underwent season-ending surgery on September 3, 2010, on his right shoulder after an MRI exam revealed extensive tearing in his rotator cuff.[10] He missed the entire 2011 season, because of this injury. He became a free agent after the 2011 season.

Kendall signed with Kansas City on July 19, 2012 to a minor league contract.[11] He played in two games for the AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals before announcing his retirement on July 24.[12]

Playing style

Kendall was known as a fundamentally sound catcher who was very good at blocking pitches and handling a pitching staffs, despite a relatively weak throwing arm. At the plate, Kendall was known for his very opened 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 the pitch frequently as a result of his batting stance; he was hit 254 times, good for 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 (1901 and later) to Roger Bresnahan for stolen bases by a player primarily playing catcher for his career. Kendall's plate discipline and rare speed at the catcher position also enabled him to be used as a leadoff batter. 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). No other major-league catcher in the modern era of baseball has ever batted the majority of his team's games in the leadoff spot in any season.


Kendall has written a book with Lee Judge: Throwback: A Big-League Catcher Tells How the Game Is Really Played, released in May 2014 by St. Martin's Press.[13]

See also


  1. ^ "Pirates lose Kendall to season-ending ankle injury". CNN. July 4, 1999. 
  2. ^ "Kendall's Cycle Powers Pirates' 13–1 Romp". Los Angeles Times. 2000-05-20. Retrieved 2011-07-03. 
  3. ^ "Pirates Sign Kendall To 6-Year Contract". The New York Times. 2000-11-18. Retrieved 2009-10-03. 
  4. ^ "Jason Kendall Statistics". Sports Reference, Inc. Retrieved 2007-05-28. 
  5. ^ Urban, Mychael (July 16, 2007). "A's deal catcher Kendall to Cubs". Retrieved 2007-07-16. 
  6. ^ "Kendall, Brewers agree in principle". November 21, 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-22. 
  7. ^ Associated Press (2008-05-18). "Looper shuts down former team as Gamel lifts Brewers with first MLB homer". Retrieved 2009-10-03. 
  8. ^ Batting Stats - 2009," ESPN, accessed October 9, 2009
  9. ^ Royals sign catcher Jason Kendall to two-year contract
  10. ^ "Kendall's season over for Royals; surgery scheduled", Wichita Eagle and, Sept. 1, 2010.
  11. ^ Calcaterra, Craig. "Royals Sign Jason Kendall for some reason". Retrieved 19 July 2012. 
  12. ^ Neyer, Rob. "Jason Kendall Calls Off Comeback". Retrieved 14 July 2012. 
  13. ^ "Throwback: A Big-League Catcher Tells How the Game Is Really Played", Publishers Weekly, 01/20/2014.

External links

Preceded by
Chipper Jones
Sporting News NL Rookie of the Year
Succeeded by
Scott Rolen