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Kendall's Shuttlecock
2006-05-09 20:59
by Mike Carminati

Jason Kendall should be the happiest fellow on the planet. He is making $11,571,429 this season for being a sinkhole in the A's offense.

But instead of enjoying being one of a very limited number of players who have profited from a Billy Beane mistake, Kendall seems like one ticked off "A". Not only did charge the mound and unceremoniously Fosberry Flop on Angel John Lackey for a ball slightly high and inside. Now, he sour-grapes over having to accept his proper punishment, a four-game suspension, calling the majors "a badminton league"--though it should be pointed out that they soon will be employing pink bats.

To quote the eminent Mr. Kendall, "I understand I have to be suspended, but it's not like I went out and picked a fight. Nothing would have happened if he wouldn't have said anything to me, if he wouldn't have taken three steps hard at me."

I think that MLB should suspend Kendall for fifty games since he had to have violated their drug policy to believe any part of that statement.

[I]t's not like I went out and picked a fight…Ah, yes, it is. That's exactly what you did, Jason.

Nothing would have happened if he wouldn't have said anything to me, if he wouldn't have taken three steps hard at me… I don't know what the difference is between sharp and dull steps are—it may be like cheddar. But Lackey didn't take any steps. He stood in front of the mound after receiving the ball from the catcher. As for what Lackey said, I can't say, but I can't imagine what would be so provocative as to justify Kendall inciting a riot.

Well, Kendall has an answer for that too, " I get called out by Lackey. He calls me out and disrespects me and I'm supposed to sit here and have him yell at me?" Oh, you got called out. I think you're allowed to murderlize the dude then. Are you supposed to just sit there? Yes, you live in a society where physical attacks are against the law. I'd love to see this prima donna cowboying up with real live humans after his career is done. That'll make a great COPS episode.

Speaking of when baseball will become a spectator sport for Kendall, that eventuality seems to get closer by the minute. Not only have his ratios been atrocious in two seasons in Oakland (currently .244/.360/.293), the man has failed to hit a home run in almost two seasons. His last dinger was on July 27 against the Braves when he still played for the Pirates, and that was, at the time, his first homer in a month.

As a matter of fact if Kendall can finish 2006 as the starting catcher of the A's and fails to homer, he will be the first regular player not to homer for two straight seasons since 1995. Here are the last men to do (or not do) it:

Otis Nixon1994BOSCF1995TEXCF
Jose Lind1992PIT2B1993KCA2B
Rafael Belliard1991ATLSS1992ATLSS
Jim Gantner1989MIL2B1990MIL2B
Al Newman1989MIN2B1990MIN2B
Jim Gantner1988MIL2B1989MIL2B
Gerald Young1988HOUCF1989HOUCF
Steve Jeltz1987PHISS1988PHISS
Ozzie Smith1986SLNSS1987SLNSS
Steve Jeltz1986PHISS1987PHISS
Steve Jeltz1985PHISS1986PHISS
Julio Cruz1985CHA2B1986CHA2B
Doug Flynn1983MON2B1984MON2B
Jerry Remy1982BOS2B1983BOS2B
Doug Flynn1982MON2B1983MON2B
Tom Herr1981SLN2B1982SLN2B
Larry Bowa1981PHISS1982CHNSS
Jerry Remy1981BOS2B1982BOS2B
Rodney Scott1980MON2B1981MON2B
Frank Taveras1980NYNSS1981NYNSS
Ozzie Smith1980SDNSS1981SDNSS
Miguel Dilone1980CLELF1981CLELF
Ozzie Smith1979SDNSS1980SDNSS
Duane Kuiper1978CLE2B1979CLE2B
Bob Randall1977MIN2B1978MIN2B
Rob Andrews1976HOU2B1977SFN2B
Roger Metzger1976HOUSS1977HOUSS

As for the last catcher to do it, you have to go back sixty years, and only a handful have done it since the deadball era:

Mike Tresh1946CHAC1947CHAC
Mike Tresh1945CHAC1946CHAC
Mike Tresh1944CHAC1945CHAC
Mike Tresh1943CHAC1944CHAC
Mickey Owen1942BROC1943BROC
Mike Tresh1942CHAC1943CHAC
Mike Tresh1941CHAC1942CHAC
Rick Ferrell1939WASC1940WASC
Frank Grube1932CHAC1933CHAC
Al Spohrer1931BSNC1932BSNC
Bennie Tate1930CHAC1931CHAC
Ray Hayworth1930DETC1931DETC
Bennie Tate1929WASC1930CHAC
Luke Sewell1926CLEC1927CLEC
Ray Schalk1925CHAC1926CHAC

Given that this is a player who once hit as many as 14 home runs in a season, and has 67 in his ten-year career, one has to wonder if Kendall has taken some sort of antidote for steroids. Of all the regular players to record two straight zero-homer seasons, only one hit more in any previous season. Here are the most homers hit in a previous season by such a player:

Jimmy Collins1907PHA3B1908PHA3B189815
Bones Ely1900PITSS1901PITSS189412
Bobby Wallace1911SLASS1912SLASS189912
Bobby Wallace1910SLASS1911SLASS189912
Bobby Wallace1909SLASS1910SLASS189912
Jim Gantner1989ML42B1990ML42B198311
Jim Gantner1988ML42B1989ML42B198311
Bill Bradley1909CLE3B1910CLE3B190211
Ron Hunt1973MON2B1974MON3B196310
Ron Hunt1972MON2B1973MON2B196310
Deacon McGuire1903DETC1904NYAC189510

As for the career homers, for a catcher with two straight no-homer seasons, the previous high was Rick Ferrell's 28. Here are the most career homers for any regular player who failed to homer in two straight seasons:

NameYr1TmPOSYr2TmPOSCareer HR
Cap Anson1871RC13B1872PH13B97
Cap Anson1872PH13B1873PH11B97
Cap Anson1877CHN3B1878CHNLF97
Cap Anson1878CHNLF1879CHN1B97
Larry Doyle1907NYG2B1908NYG2B74
Hardy Richardson1879BFN3B1880BFN3B70
Jimmy Collins1907PHA3B1908PHA3B65
Paul Hines1874CH2CF1875CH22B57
Paul Hines1874CH2CF1875CH2CF57
Roger Peckinpaugh1917NYASS1918NYASS48
Eddie Collins1916CHA2B1917CHA2B47
Jim Gantner1988ML42B1989ML42B47
Jim Gantner1989ML42B1990ML42B47
Deacon McGuire1903DETC1904NYAC45
Luke Appling1938CHASS1939CHASS45
Luke Appling1939CHASS1940CHASS45
Tommy McCarthy1884BSULF1885BSNLF44
Abner Dalrymple1878ML2LF1879CHNLF43
Abner Dalrymple1879CHNLF1880CHNLF43
John Morrill1876BSN2B1877BSN3B43
John Morrill1877BSN3B1878BSN1B43
John Morrill1878BSN1B1879BSN3B43
Max Bishop1926PHA2B1927PHA2B41
2006-05-09 22:08:44
1.   Ken Arneson
Maybe if Kendall tried hitting with a baseball bat instead of a badminton racquet, the ball would travel a lot further when he hit it.
2006-05-10 08:25:39
2.   mattapp
Look at Steve Jeltz -- four straight years without a home run! I didn't recall his being that inept -- it's no wonder why it was so huge when he homered twice in one game back in 1989.

I'm willing to bet that the post-dead ball list of regular players who've gone four straight years without hitting a home run is relatively small.

2006-05-10 08:36:38
3.   Mike Carminati
Oh, don't get me started on Jeltz. As a Phillies fan, I remember him well. He epitomozed the ineptitude of the post-1983 Phils. That's why I had a Jeltz #30 Hero T made up. I'll see if he's alone on the four straight no-homer list--I suspect that there'll be a Mark Belanger or two from the late-Sixties/early-Seventies.
2006-05-10 08:55:59
4.   Mike Carminati
Here's the list and I must say that I underestimated Jeltz. He is the only regular position player since WWII to fail to homer for four straight years:

Name Yr1 Yr2 Yr3 Yr4
Steve Jeltz 1985 1986 1987 1988
Emil Verban 1944 1945 1946 1947
Mike Tresh 1944 1945 1946 1947
Mike Tresh 1943 1944 1945 1946
Mike Tresh 1942 1943 1944 1945
Mike Tresh 1941 1942 1943 1944
Doc Cramer 1936 1937 1938 1939
Tom Oliver 1930 1931 1932 1933
Muddy Ruel 1922 1923 1924 1925

2006-05-10 09:58:16
5.   rbj
Pink. Bats?
2006-05-10 10:40:44
6.   Mike Carminati
And we thought Spiderman logos on the bases were bad.
2006-05-11 08:55:38
7.   chuie
6 Watch it or I'll get you started on Steve Jeltz! I think raising money for breast cancer research is a little more respectable than promoting a movie that doesn't really need the extra hype. And it's about time they started this program, since they do the prostate cancer thing for Father's Day.
2006-05-11 09:30:47
8.   Mike Carminati
They do? I don't want to see the bats they'll use on Padres Day. "Turn and cough."
2006-05-11 10:19:52
9.   rbj
Baseball has been doing the breast cancer thing for a few seasons now. Now that I remember, last year the Toledo MudHens wore pink tops on Mother's Day.

Pink ribbons on jerseys or hats, ok. Pink uniforms & bats, not so much.

2006-05-11 11:00:41
10.   mattapp
Actually, I'm a life-long Phillies fan too, but I spent the mid-to-late '80s living in MD so it was a bit more difficult for me to follow the team and really see just how inept Jeltz was.

Having seen that Jeltz was historically THAT bad, I'm thinking of checking out the websites places that offer personalized retro jerseys and having a special Jeltz one made up to add to my collection.

2006-05-11 11:29:12
11.   mattapp
I just realized that Verban was a Phillie for 1.5 seasons during his four-year stretch of infamy. I swear, what has Philadelphia done to deserve this franchise?
2006-05-11 11:47:10
12.   Mike Carminati
What have they done? Support mediocrity. Boo J.D. Drew. Drive Scot Rolen out of town. Allow Bill Giles and the Court of Seven, Ed Wade, and Lee Thomas make personnel decisions for most of the last twenty years. Allow an imbecile like Dave Montgomery shepherd the team through mediocrity. Be the last NL team to integrate. Have Larry Bowa manager as a lameduck for over a year. Charlie "I Need a Friggin'"Manuel!
2006-05-11 12:27:32
13.   mattapp
Well, there's all that... but I meant in the city of Philadelphia in the karmic sense. When Boston, SL and NY lost their 2nd/3rd teams in the '50s, it least it was the historically lesser franchises. Philadelphia couldn't even get that correct.
2006-05-11 13:22:06
14.   Mike Carminati
It's those damn Whiz Kids' fault.

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