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Howie Kendrick, former Angels and Dodgers standout, announces his retirement

Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick celebrates with teammates after hitting a solo home run against the New York Yankees.
Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick celebrates with teammates after hitting a solo home run against the New York Yankees in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees on Oct. 19, 2009.
(Christine Cotter / Los Angeles Times)

Howie Kendrick, who played the bulk of his 15-year major league career with the Angels and spent two seasons with the Dodgers before blossoming into a playoff hero for the Washington Nationals in 2019, announced his retirement Monday on Instagram.

Kendrick, 37, had 1,747 hits and batted .294 with a .767 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, 127 homers, 354 doubles, 724 RBIs and 126 stolen bases for the Angels (2006-2014), Dodgers (2015-2016), Philadelphia Phillies (2017) and Washington (2017-2020).

He played on four Angels playoff teams from 2007 to 2014, two Dodgers playoff teams and in 2019 helped the Nationals win their first World Series championship with two huge postseason home runs — in the National League division series against the Dodgers and the World Series against the Houston Astros.

“To the Angels, thank you for taking a chance on me in 2002 and helping me blossom into the consistent player I became,” Kendrick wrote. “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.

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“Last but not least, [to] 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.”

Washington Nationals designated hitter Howie Kendrick swings at a pitch during an exhibition game.
Washington Nationals designated hitter Howie Kendrick swings at a pitch during an exhibition game against the Miami Marlins in March.
(Julio Cortez / Associated Press)

Kendrick, 37, was a 10th-round pick of the Angels out of St. John’s River Community College in Florida in 2002. He reached the big leagues in 2006 because of his ability to spray line drives all over the field, but his improved defense enabled him to man second base for most of his nine years in Anaheim.

Kendrick had a .292 regular-season average and .756 OPS with the Angels and made the American League All-Star team in 2011, but he always struggled in the postseason, batting .186 (11 for 59) with a .485 OPS, one homer, one double, two RBIs, 16 strikeouts and one walk in 16 games.

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He was traded to the Dodgers after the 2014 season in a three-team deal that brought left-hander Andrew Heaney from Miami to Anaheim. Kendrick hit .274 with a .718 OPS in 263 games with the Dodgers before being traded to Philadelphia in November 2016.

He spent half a season with the Phillies before being traded in July 2017 to Washington, where he hit .316 with an .873 OPS, 30 homers and 113 RBIs in 238 regular-season games over the next 3½ seasons, including a career-best .344 average and .966 OPS with 17 homers and 62 RBIs in 121 games in 2019.

Kendrick shed his label of postseason underachiever that October, hitting .286 with two clutch homers and 12 RBIs in 19 playoff games for the Nationals, who beat the Dodgers in a five-game division series and the Astros in a seven-game World Series.

Kendrick crushed the Dodgers’ World Series hopes in the decisive Game 5 of the division series, hitting a tiebreaking grand slam in the 10th inning off reliever Joe Kelly to lift Washington to a 7-3 victory.

Later that October, Kendrick hit a go-ahead, two-run homer, clanging an opposite-field line drive off the right-field foul pole, in the seventh inning of Washington’s 6-2 victory over Houston in Game 7 of the World Series.

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“In four seasons with Washington, he brought production on the field, leadership in the clubhouse and in impact in the community,” the Nationals said in a statement. “His heroics during the 2019 postseason helped bring a championship to D.C. and provided incredible memories that none of us will ever forget.”

Kendrick hit .275 with two homers and 15 RBIs in 35 games last season.Monday, he thanked his grandmother, Ruth Woods, for introducing him to baseball when he was 5, his wife, Jody, and sons Owen and Tyson, his teammates and the fans.

“I will always love the game of baseball and will constantly reflect on the lifelong memories I made,” Kendrick said. “For now, it’s time to drop the mic and enter a new stage of my life.”


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