Howie Kendrick has decided to hang up his cleats a week after Mike Rizzo and Davey Martinez said they expected the DH and second baseman would return.
Kendrick announced his retirement on Instagram. The 37-year-old slugger played 15 years in the MLB and was a major reason why the Washington Nationals won the World Series in 2019.
“I will be forever grateful for the many life lessons baseball has taught me on this 32 year journey,” Kendrick wrote.
He also had a special message for the Nationals. “[T]hank you for embracing me as one of your own. I feel as though I’d been a National my whole career and the wild, humbling and crazy ride we had in 2019 truly culminated everything I’d learned in my career, and we all became World Champions.
Kendrick’s full message reads:
After 15 MLB seasons, I’ve decided to retire from the game of baseball. A dream that started as a 5 yr old boy in the town of Callahan, Florida. I will be forever grateful for the many life lessons baseball has taught me on this 32 yr journey.
I want to give praise and thanks first to God and secondly my grandmother, Ruth Woods, who laid the ground work and introduced me to the game of baseball. To my Wife Jody, my sons Owen and Tyson, I love you more than anything in this world. Thank you for sticking it out on this ride I called a dream. After all of this we’ve made it to dad being home everyday. I’m looking forward to being a constant pain in your butt day in and day out.
To everyone in Callahan who did their part to keep me on the straight and narrow, you’ve never been forgotten. To the LA Angels, thank you for taking a chance on me in 2002 and helping me blossom into the consistent player I became.
To the Dodgers, although the opportunity to wear Dodger Blue was brief, it will always be cherished.
To the Philadelphia Phillies, thank you for helping me understand what it meant to become a leader and veteran.
Last but not least, my Beloved Washington Nationals, thank you for embracing me as one of your own. I feel as though I’d been a National my whole career and the wild, humbling and crazy ride we had in 2019 truly culminated everything I’d learned in my career, and we all became World Champions.
To my teammates throughout the years, thank you for the times and hardships we’ve shared. I’ve learned from you and hopefully taught some of you the bits and pieces I got from the guys before me. To the fans, without your support and love for the game, our stage and lights would not shine as brightly as they do. Know you will be missed as well.
I will always love the game of baseball and will constantly reflect on the lifelong memories made. For now, it’s time to drop the mic and enter a new stage of my life.
Several Nationals’ players from the 2019 championship team wished Kendrick well in the comments including Gerardo Parra and Trea Turner.
The Nationals published a statement and posted a tribute video for Howie:
The Washington Nationals organization would like to congratulate Howie Kendrick on his tremendous career.
In four seasons with Washington, he brought production on the field, leadership in the clubhouse, and an impact in the community. His heroics during the 2019 Postseason helped bring a championship to DC and provided incredible memories that none of us will ever forget.
We wish Howie and his family all the best.
This is Howie say goodbye to a legendary Washington National.
For all the historic moments you’ve provided on the field, and for the memorable moments off…
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) December 22, 2020
Kendrick spent four of his 15 seasons in the majors with Washington. His best season arguably came in 2019, at age 35, when he slugged 17 home runs and had 62 RBIs. Kendrick continued his run in the postseason where he was the team’s most clutch hitter, earning MVP honors in the NCLS.
Kendrick’s tenth-inning grand slam won against the Dodgers won the NLDS for the Nationals, pushing them to the NCLS. There, he dominated Cardinals pitching, batting .333 and notching nine total bases in four games.
During the postseason, Kendrick’s “clutch” dugout celebration with Adam Eaton is iconic.
— Bonfire Sports (@Bonfiresports1) October 31, 2019
In the World Series, Kendrick hit an opposite-field home run off the foul pole to give the Nationals a 3-2 lead in Game Seven.
Back at home at Nats Park, Nationals fans were sent into a frenzy.
— RMNB (@russianmachine) October 31, 2019
The Nationals would hold on to win Game Seven giving the franchise its first-ever championship.
Kendrick would play one more season after the World Series win, playing in 25 games and batting .275 during the MLB’s pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign.
Kendrick will now become a full-time dad of his two children Owen and Tyson.
Thanks for the memories, Howie.
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