With the 23rd overall pick in the 1992 MLB Draft the Pittsburgh Pirates selected Jason Kendall. This would be the beginning of Kendall’s journey to becoming one of the best Pirate catchers in franchise history, as well as one of the most popular players in franchise history.
Kendall made his MLB debut for the Pirates on April 1, 1996. This was the beginning of a nine-year Pirate career. In these nine seasons, Kendall was a three-time All-Star. He was also one of the few bright spots for the Pirates from 1996 – 2004, all of which were losing seasons.
Following the 2004 season the Pirates traded Kendall to the Oakland Athletics. He would also spend time with the Milwaukee Brewers, Chicago Cubs and Kansas City Royals. He missed all of 2011 due to injury and then played in tow minor league games for the Royals in 2021 before calling it a career. Since retiring, Kendall has served as a special assistant in the Royals’ organization.
Like Wehner, Kendall has expressed interest in the job during an interview on 93.7 The Fan. He also made it clear that he never would have allowed the clubhouse issues that plagued the Pirates last season to happen on his watch.
To be honest, Kendall could provide a lot of value to the Pirates in a coaching capacity. Members of the Royals teams that went to back-to-back World Series in 2014 and 2015 credited Kendall’s work for the success of their pitching staff. Rather the value Kendall adds is best as a manager or a coach is the question.