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Joe Kennedy

Born: May 24, 1979(1979-05-24)
La Mesa, California
Died: November 23, 2007 (aged 28)
Brandon, Florida
Batted: Right Threw: Left 
MLB debut
June 6, 2001 for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Last MLB appearance
September 29, 2007 for the Toronto Blue Jays
Career statistics
Win-Loss record     43-61
Earned run average     4.79
Strikeouts     558

Joseph Darley Kennedy (May 24, 1979 – November 23, 2007) was an American left-handed Major League Baseball pitcher who played for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Colorado Rockies, Oakland Athletics, Arizona Diamondbacks, and the Toronto Blue Jays from 2001 to 2007.


Personal life

Kennedy was born in La Mesa, California and graduated from El Cajon Valley High School in El Cajon, California. He played baseball as well as basketball, volleyball and football. After high school he attended Grossmont Community College. From there he entered the major league draft.

Professional career

Kennedy was drafted by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the eighth round (252nd overall) of the 1998 Major League Baseball draft. He made his major league debut on June 6, 2001 with the Devil Rays.

During three seasons Kennedy pitched 72 consecutive starts before being relegated to the bullpen after suffering an arm injury in 2003. Traded to the Colorado Rockies before the 2004 season, Kennedy became the first Rockies starter to have a sub 4.00 earned run average, setting a franchise record with a 3.66 ERA.

From 2001–04, Kennedy posted a 27-38 record with 381 strikeouts and a 4.63 ERA in 610.1 innings pitched.

In 2005, Kennedy struggled as a starter for the Rockies, going 4-8 with a 7.04 ERA. On July 13 of that year, Kennedy, along with pitcher Jay Witasick, was traded by the Rockies to the Oakland Athletics for outfielder Eric Byrnes and minor league infield prospect Omar Quintanilla. Kennedy pitched in the bullpen for Oakland before being pressed into the starter role in September when Rich Harden was injured. Kennedy went 1-5 as a starter for Oakland, and finished the year with a 4-5 record and a 4.70 ERA in the American League.

Kennedy pitched well in a middle relief role in Oakland's bullpen in 2006, with a record of 4-1 and a 2.31 ERA. Unfortunately, his role was diminished as he missed three months with shoulder and biceps injuries.

Despite struggling in spring training with an ERA above 11.00, Kennedy was named the fifth starter for the Athletics at the start of the 2007 season. Through June 2 he compiled a 1-4 record with a 3.3 ERA in 62 2/3 innings. Kennedy was claimed by the Arizona Diamondbacks on August 4 after being placed on waivers by the Athletics. He was designated for assignment on August 15 and later released by the Diamondbacks. He signed a minor league contract with the Toronto Blue Jays on August 28 and was called up to the major league team on September 2. He pitched in nine games, all in relief, for the Blue Jays in the final month of the season and went 1-0 with a 5.14 ERA. He became a free agent after the season.


Kennedy had a bevy of pitches at his disposal, featuring a low-90s four-seam fastball, an 88–90 MPH two-seam fastball, a slow curve, a diving slider and, possibly his second-best pitch after his fastball, a deceptive changeup. His powerful delivery was at the 3/4-sidearm slot, which made his pitches particularly hard for left-handed batters to pick up. He was also very effective against right-handed batters. After struggling a little as a spot-starter for the Athletics, he pitched well in the bullpen in 2006, holding his opponents to a .254 batting average and going 4-1 with a 2.31 ERA.


On November 23, 2007, Kennedy was in Florida to be the best man at the wedding of a friend. He woke up in the middle of the night and collapsed at the home of his in-laws.[1] He was taken to Brandon Hospital in Brandon, where he was pronounced dead.[2] At the time of Kennedy's death, he was married to Jami Kennedy, who was pregnant with their second child (the couple have a one year old boy). On January 15, 2008, it was announced by the medical examiner that Kennedy had died of hypertensive heart disease with degeneration of the mitral valve. [3]

After Kennedy's death, Frank Thomas kept Kennedy's glove in his locker wherever he played.


  1. ^ Crasnick, Jerry "Major league left-hander Joe Kennedy dies",, November 23, 2007. Accessed November 23, 2007.
  2. ^ Rosenthal, Ken "Joe Kennedy dies at 28", November 23, 2007. Accessed November 23, 2007.
  3. ^ "Medical examiner rules Kennedy died of heart disease", January 15, 2008. Accessed January 15, 2008.

External links

Preceded by
Tanyon Sturtze
Tampa Bay Devil Rays Opening Day
Starting pitcher

Succeeded by
Víctor Zambrano


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