After 15 major league seasons, veteran infielder/outfielder Howie Kendrick announced Monday that he’s retiring from major league baseball.
Kendrick concluded a lengthy Instagram post by saying “it’s time to drop the mic and enter a new stage of my life.”
Over the course of a decade and a half in the sport, Kendrick slashed .294/.337/.430 with 1,747 hits, 127 stolen bases and 724 RBIs.
The first nine years of his career were spent with the Los Angeles Angels, the team who selected him with the 10th round of the 2002 MLB Draft.
In December of 2014, Kendrick was traded to the Dodgers. During his two seasons with the Dodgers, Kendrick was a teammate with four players that were key cogs on the 2008 World Series Champion Phillies; Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Carlos Ruiz and Joe Blanton.
That proved to be a precursor of what was to come, as the Dodgers traded Kendrick to the Phillies in November of 2016. The two pieces that the Phillies sent to the Dodgers in return are recognizable. Former Double-A Reading home run record holder Darin Ruf was sent to the Dodgers, as was Darnell Sweeney, who the Phillies initially acquired from Los Angeles in the August 2015 trade that sent Utley to the west coast.
Kendrick was the opening day starter in left field in 2017, but struggled to stay healthy during his limited time with the Phillies. Kendrick hit .340 in 141 at-bats as a Phillie, but ultimately his tenure with the team was pretty forgettable.
Still, in his retirement post, Kendrick did reflect on his time with the Phillies, saying “to the Philadelphia Phillies, thank you for helping me understand what it meant to become a leader and veteran.”
The Phillies sent Kendrick and cash considerations to the division-rival Nationals for righty McKenzie Mills and international signing bonus money. While the biggest payoff the Phillies would get from the deal is flipping Mills to the Miami Marlins for Justin Bour, Kendrick became a cult hero with the Nationals.
In 334 at-bats with the Nationals in 2019, Kendrick slashed .334/.395/.572 with 17 home runs, 62 RBIs and a .966 OPS. Kendrick hit a go-ahead grand slam against the Dodgers in Game 5 of the 2019 NLDS. Incredibly, that didn’t prove to be Kendrick’s most important home run of that postseason, as he ultimately sliced a game-winning home run off of the right field foul pole in Game 7 of the World Series, helping the Nationals to win their first championship in franchise history.
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