Howie Kendrick made a mockery of minor league pitching as he climbed the ranks of the Angels organization from 2002-06. He flirted with .400 on occasion and never hit below .342 for a season in the minors.
He’s been a steady bat in the Angels lineup through seven big league seasons, but there’s more about him than just baseball.
He learned to ride a bike at the age of two
And he was self-taught, without training wheels, no less. Kendrick watched his older cousins playing around and riding bikes and picked it up.
“I would get in between the bike handlebars and I could hold on to the bike and I would peddle,” he said. “So, what happened was the sprocket would hit my diaper and it would shred it.”
Which inevitably led to his childhood nickname: “Sloppy”
It was the nickname given to him by family members. Kendrick was an active kid, to say the least, and involved in all types of outdoor activities growing up in Florida.
“I was always dirty because I was always outside playing around and when I’d eat I’d have food on my face and stuff so it kind of stuck,” Kendrick said.
Baseball was his favorite sport to play as a youth
However, with a nickname like “Sloppy” he was involved in a “little bit of everything,” including football, basketball, and soccer.
A John Smoltz fan growing up
“I pitched when I was younger so I was very much into John Smoltz and those guys,” Kendrick said.
But it didn’t stop there as he was fans of just about all the Atlanta Braves of that era; Fred McGriff, Andruw Jones, and Chipper Jones to name a few.
As he put it, growing up in the south, the Braves were always on. He also got the chance to go to a few games during the summer time.
As much as he admired Smoltz, he realized his own pitching days were numbered.
“I gave up pitching right when I got out of high school,” he said. “I knew I was never going to be a pitcher, 5’10” throwing 86 (miles per hour). No. No chance.”
Twitter or Facebook?
Neither. Kendrick had a Twitter for a short time but got rid of it. Instagram is his social media network of choice. A blossoming photographer, Kendrick takes tons of pictures when the team is on the road. Some on his phone which he admits “aren’t great” but he keeps his personal camera handy to really dive into his hobby of photography.
Kendrick is “very much into cars”
As in fast cars. If Kendrick could participate in any sport today other than baseball, he’d hop inside a Formula 1 car. He’d also like to go street course racing or race motorcycles.
“Anything that’s adrenaline-filled, I’m game,” he said.
50 Cent would play him in a movie
Kendrick has never met the rapper/actor but hears his name a lot.
“Everybody always says me and him look alike and I know he does some acting,” Kendrick said of 50 Cent.
A$AP Rocky, Kid Cudi top his current list of musical selections
However, those selections are very broad. He’s very eclectic when it comes to music. Fall Out Boy can be found on his iPod as well as The Black Keys.
“I got some Madonna on there,” he said. “I ain’t even ashamed to say it. I listen to literally everything.”
It’s all about the Rice Krispies
There are Rice Krispies Treats in the Kendrick household for the kids but they have been a go-to for Kendrick recently as a late night snack. After games? Why not?
“That’s like one of the quickest things you can grab,” he said.
Kauffman Stadium is his favorite place to play other than Angel Stadium
It was the home of last season’s All Star Game and also has the Buck O’Neil legacy seat.
And who could forget those gorgeous fountains? There are so many things to like about the stadium the Royals call home and Kendrick loves it.
“It just kind of reminds me of where I grew up,” he said. “It’s always been one of my favorite parks to go to.”