At age 35, with 14 MLB seasons catching under his belt already, Milwaukee Brewer Jason Kendall became the 225th player in MLB history to collect 2000+ hits. His 1874 games donning the tools of ignorance ranks 18th all-time among catchers; and it’s likely he’ll crack the Top 10 during next season if he remains employed. How is it that his career has gone relatively unnoticed? In the era of baseball with muscle bound catchers such as Mike Piazza and Ivan Rodriguez, it’s easy to find yourself amid the obscure.
Don’t get me wrong, at one time Kendall was a premier name in the company of catchers signing a 6 year $60M contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates and was their 1st round draft pick in 1992. However, he never developed the power they thought he would and ended up being an overpriced piece that the Buccos couldn’t sensibly keep around with their small market budget, losing ways, and dwindling attendance. Pitt shipped him to Oakland where he camped out behind the plate for 3 seasons with the Athletics until finishing up the 2007 season with the Chicago Cubs. He’s since found a home with the Brew Crew the past 2 seasons, displaying little offense, but solid defensive prowess and game calling skills that make the pitching staff feel comfortable.
Career #’s- .291/.370/.386, 2003 hits, 958 runs, 362 doubles, 34 triples, 73 homeruns, 679 rbi, 170 stolen bases, and 52 more walks than strikeouts (651:599). 3 time all-star and a 29% caught stealing rate. He’s the active leader in being hit by pitch with 236, and ranks 6th all-time. Catching ranks- 8th in hits, 9th in runs, 7th in doubles, 3rd in stolen bases, and 11th in batting average (minimum 4000 plate appearances). Future Hall of Famer? Doubtful, but a damn fine catcher nonetheless.
Rage Against the Machine- Testify