Jason Kendall (born June 26, 1974 in San Diego, California) is a catcher in Major League Baseball with the Oakland Athletics. He is the son of former catcher Fred Kendall, who played in the majors from 1969-1980.
Kendall attended and played at Torrance High School in Torrance, California, where he tied a national high school record by hitting safely in 43 straight games. He was drafted out of high school by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1992 draft. He made the major league squad in 1996, and was the Pirates' starting catcher until he was traded to the Oakland A's for Arthur Rhodes and Mark Redman after the 2004 season. In his rookie year, he hit .300, made the National League All-Star Team, and was selected NL rookie of the year by The Sporting News (he finished third in voting for the MLB Rookie of the Year award). He was also an All-Star in 1998 and 2000.
In 1999, he suffered a season-ending injury when he broke his leg while running to 1st base in a July 4 game against Milwaukee. The compound fracture was one of the grisliest injuries in recent baseball history.
From 2002 through 2004, Kendall led all major league catchers in games and innings behind the plate. He is also the Pirates' all-time leader in games caught.
As a batter, he is known as a careful, consistent hitter. Though he lacks power and has only average speed, he is a lifetime .302 hitter who rarely strikes out. The frequency by which he gets hit by pitches (he is the Pirates' all-time leader in the category) is a testament to both his batting focus and his unwillingness to be intimidated by pitchers.
During the 2005 season, however, Kendall has struggled at the plate. His .321 slugging percentage was the worst (by 20 points) among all Major League players who qualify for the batting title. His .271 batting average was the second lowest in his career.