LA Angels All-Decade Team: Howie Kendrick Was the One Who Got Away
By Vincent Page
For the second half of this decade, the LA Angels have yet to have a second baseman who can stick. This inconsistency made Halo fans’ appreciation of Howie Kendrick grow more and more by the year.
During the last era of LA Angels baseball, before all the big signings and Mike Trout’s presence in Anaheim, Howie Kendrick was one of the faces we came to love the most. His exciting play and infectious smile made him a fan favorite in Anaheim year after year.
It helped that he was always dynamic on the field as well. In his nine years with the Angels, he slashed .292/.332/.424 while playing phenomenal defense at second base. He was also apart of four Angels teams that went on to win American League West pennants. This included the 98-win 2014 season, where Kendrick finished 18th in MVP voting. This also wound up being Kendricks’ final season in Anaheim.
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Since then, Kendricks has gone to the postseason in every season except 2018. He has been a consistent contributor on winning teams even into his later 30’s. That shouldn’t surprise anyone, especially Halo fans.
While Howie Kendrick was a phenomenal player in his own right as an Angel, his legacy among fans is only amplified by the black hole that has been between first and second base at The Big A ever since Kendrick was traded to the *shudders* Dodgers for Andrew Heaney.
Names like Johnny Giovatella and Danny Espinosa were among some of the most successful Angels second baseman after Kendricks’ departure. 2019 was a solid year as the team saw Tommy La Stella break out and earn a trip to the All Star Game. However, the curse lived on as La Stella missed nearly the entire second half of the season after foul tipping a ball off of his shin.
Meanwhile, Kendrick has continued being cheered on by Angels fans. During the Washington Nationals’ World Series run last season, Angels fans everywhere rooted for a team across the country simply because of #47. The cherry on top was Kendrick being an extremely vital part of the Nationals’ success.
And hey, killing the Dodgers’ World Series hopes by hitting a grand slam in extra innings made us smile too.
It would have been nice to see the Angels being Howie back this year, but he belongs in Washington now. Nevertheless, there has been only one second baseman for the Angels this decade worth mentioning. Howie Kendrick was everybody’s favorite player, and continues to be one of the most loved former Angels in the entire league.
Here’s to you, Howie Kendrick. The one who got away.