Jason Daniel Kendall
(born June 26
in San Diego
) is a Major League Baseball catcher
for the Milwaukee Brewers
. He is the son of former catcher Fred Kendall
, who played in the majors from 1969
Kendall attended and played at Torrance High School
, 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 amateur draft
(23rd overall pick) by the Pittsburgh Pirates
Early professional career
He made the major league squad in 1996
and was the Pirates' starting catcher until he was traded to the Oakland Athletics
for Arthur Rhodes
and Mark Redman
after the 2004
season. 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
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. The unusual compound dislocation, which was initially misidentified as a fracture, was one of the most grisly injuries in recent baseball history.
In 2002 and 2005, he led the majors in at-bats per strikeout (18.1 in 2002, 15.4 in 2005).
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.
As a batter, he is a careful, consistent hitter. Though he lacks power, he is a lifetime .297 hitter who rarely strikes out. Though fast for a catcher, Kendall does not possess overwhelming speed for a major league ballplayer. He has led all major league catchers in steals a number of times in the past 7 years, however (2000, with 22; 2001 -- 13; 2002 -- 15; 2004 -- 11; and 2006 -- 11). His lifetime steal percentage of 68.5% is about the league average. Kendall has led off many games in his major league career. The frequency by which he gets hit by pitches (he is the Pirates' all-time leader in the category) is a testament to both his batting focus and his unwillingness to be intimidated by pitchers.
During the 2005 season, however, 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.
The 2006 season marked Kendall's first ever 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.
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, he agreed in principle to a one-year deal with the Milwaukee Brewers. As of July 10, 2008, Kendall is batting .264 as the Brewer's everyday catcher, with a .346 on-base percentage and 26 runs batted in.
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.
- He was one of few baseball players to bat without the use of batting gloves, until he began using them in May 2006. However, as of 2008 he had begun batting without gloves again.
- Kendall had one of the longest homerless streaks broken on May 31, 2006 when he connected off Kansas City Royals pitcher Joel Peralta. Kendall had gone 961 at bats between homers, dating back to the 2004 season.
- On August 15, 2004, Kendall caused a bench-clearing brawl when he tackled Colorado Rockies pitcher Joe Kennedy after being hit by a pitch. Kennedy and Kendall were teammates with the A's from 2005 to 2007.
- Kendall made a highly unusual play in a game on August 11, 2005. He was on third base in the ninth inning of a tie game when Angels' closer Francisco Rodriguez dropped the return throw from catcher Bengie Molina and Kendall alertly ran home, scoring the winning run. The play was scored as an error on Rodriguez.
- Kendall is married (Chantel) has two children (Kuyper and Karoline) and two stepchildren (Joey and Emma).
- Kendall approaches the plate to the song "Dig" by Mudvayne.