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Matt Kemp

Los Angeles Dodgers — No. 27
Center fielder
Born: September 23, 1984 (1984-09-23) (age 25)
Midwest City, Oklahoma
Bats: Right Throws: Right 
MLB debut
May 28, 2006 for the Los Angeles Dodgers
Career statistics
(through 2009 season)
Batting Average     .299
Home Runs     61
Runs Batted In     242
Stolen Bases     78
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Matthew Ryan "Matt" Kemp (born September 23, 1984 in Midwest City, Oklahoma)[1] is a Major League Baseball outfielder with the Los Angeles Dodgers.[2]

Contents

High school years

Kemp attended Midwest City High School in Midwest City, Oklahoma and was a standout in basketball and baseball.[2] He was teammates with Shelden Williams of the Boston Celtics on the varsity basketball team that won the state title their junior year. In 2002, while playing in a High School All-Star Basketball tournament, Matt Kemp, along with 4 other teammates, including Shelden Williams, were accused of raping a 19 year old woman on January 20, 2002 at the Columbus, Ohio Hyatt hotel.[3][4][5]The players were suspended from the team during the investigation.[6] The woman decided not to press charges, and the district attorney opted to not pursue the matter due to a lack of evidence.[7]

Professional career

Kemp was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 6th round of the 2003 draft and signed with the team on June 5, 2003.

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Minor leagues

He started his professional career for the Gulf Coast Dodgers in 2003 and followed that up with stints with the Columbus Catfish in 2004 and the Vero Beach Dodgers in 2004-05. He was selected to the Florida State League All-Star team in 2005, and set Vero Beach franchise records for home runs (27) and slugging percentage (.569). He was rated the best athlete in the Dodgers farm system by Baseball America.

2006 season

He began 2006 with the AA Jacksonville Suns, where he hit .327 with 7 homers, 34 RBIs and 11 steals, prompting a promotion to the major league squad. His promotion was spurred by an effort to provide regular rest for center fielder Kenny Lofton and off injured right field All-Star J.D. Drew.

Kemp made his major league debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 28, 2006, against the Washington Nationals at RFK Stadium in Washington D.C. He got one hit in 4 at bats in his debut, with his first hit coming in the 8th inning off of Jon Rauch. He hit his first Major League homer on June 1 in his second Dodger Stadium at-bat off the Philadelphia Phillies' Gavin Floyd. He homered in three straight games from June 1-3 against the Phillies and homered twice on June 11 off Colorado Rockies starter Aaron Cook. He became the 1st Dodger and 5th major leaguer to hit four homers in his first 10 days with the team.[2]

He was re-assigned to the AAA Las Vegas 51s in mid-July, but was recalled to the Dodgers when rosters expanded on September 1.

2007 season

Kemp started the 2007 season on the major league roster but lost his place when he suffered an injury while running into the outfield fence at Dodger Stadium. Upon his return from the injury, he was optioned back to Las Vegas and did not return to the Dodgers until mid-June. Once Kemp was recalled, he enjoyed an outstanding sophomore campaign. Kemp batted .342, hit 10 home runs, and drove in 42 runs while splitting time with Andre Ethier.

2008 season

Kemp at the plate in 2008

Going into the 2008 season, Kemp was expected to battle for one of the corner outfield positions, though his spot in right field was essentially guaranteed. He was named NL Player of the Week for the week of April 28-May 4, when he drove in 11 runs and had 6 stolen bases.[8]

After a knee injury to Andruw Jones, Kemp became the Dodgers' regular center fielder. During the course of the season, Kemp managed to cut down his high strikeout rate and develop his speed. Kemp finished the year second on the Dodgers in stolen bases with 35.[9]

2009 season

Kemp had his first career walk-off hit on June 16 against the Oakland A's.[10] On September 24, he became the first player in Dodger history to hit at least .295, with 25 home runs, 100 RBIs, and 30 steals in one season. Kemp hit his first career postseason home run on October 7 in his first at bat of the NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals. After the season, he was selected as a recipient of both the Gold Glove Award and the Silver Slugger Award.

Nickname

Kemp's nickname is "The Bison."[11] During the second major league game of Kemp's career, on May 29, 2006, he stole second base in the fourth inning, after which Atlanta Braves television announcer Don Sutton said he looked "like a big buffalo running around the bases." The observation was appropriate due to Kemp's imposing size and surprisingly fast footspeed. The nickname was modified to "The Bison," by the commenter D4P on the popular Dodger blog, Dodger Thoughts[12], as it is a more proper term for the North American mammal to which the moniker refers.

Personal life

Kemp resides in Los Angeles during the off season and is a Los Angeles Lakers fan. He is friends with former Laker Trevor Ariza of the Houston Rockets.[13] He has been linked to pop superstar Rihanna. [14]

References

  1. ^ "Matt Kemp - Los Angeles Dodgers - MLB - Yahoo!Sports". Yahoo.com. http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/players/7780. Retrieved September 15, 2007. 
  2. ^ a b c "The Official Site of The Los Angeles Dodgers: Team: Player Information: Biography and Career Highlits". MLB.com. http://losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com/team/player_career.jsp?player_id=461314&y=2006. Retrieved September 15, 2007. 
  3. ^ "CNNSI.com - College Basketball - Men - Report: Duke, OU signees accused of rape". CNNSI.com. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/basketball/college/news/2002/01/25/duke_recruit/. Retrieved January 22, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Players named in Ohio rape complaint Investigation involves Midwest City athletes". NewsOK.com.. http://www.newsok.com/article/2779685. Retrieved January 22, 2010. 
  5. ^ DUKE BASKETBALL RECRUIT IS NAMED IN RAPE CASE IN OHIO, Winston - Salem Journal., http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/journalnow/access/487774821.html?dids=487774821:487774821&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&type=current&date=Jan+26%2C+2002&author=JOURNAL+STAFF+AND+WIRE+REPORT&pub=Winston-Salem+Journal&desc=DUKE+BASKETBALL+RECRUIT+IS+NAMED+IN+RAPE+CASE+IN+OHIO&pqatl=google, retrieved January 22, 2010 
  6. ^ "RAPE CHARGE MAY NOT BE FILED AGAINST DUKE BASKETBALL RECRUIT". Winston - Salem Journal. http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/journalnow/access/487777191.html?dids=487777191:487777191&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&type=current&date=Feb+01%2C+2002&author=Bill+Cole+JOURNAL+REPORTER&pub=Winston-Salem+Journal&desc=RAPE+CHARGE+MAY+NOT+BE+FILED+AGAINST+DUKE+BASKETBALL+RECRUIT&pqatl=google. Retrieved January 22, 2010. 
  7. ^ "DUKE RECRUIT WON'T FACE CHARGE OF RAPE". Winston - Salem Journal. http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/journalnow/access/487830121.html?dids=487830121:487830121&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&type=current&date=Mar+09%2C+2002&author=Bill+Cole+JOURNAL+REPORTER&pub=Winston-Salem+Journal&desc=DUKE+RECRUIT+WON%27T+FACE+CHARGE+OF+RAPE&pqatl=google. Retrieved January 22, 2010. 
  8. ^ 2008 Player of the Week winners MLB.com
  9. ^ Matt Kemp - Los Angeles Dodgers Yahoo! Sports
  10. ^ Game Wrapup - Kemp is Clutch - Dodgers 5, Athletics 4 dodgers.com
  11. ^ Jon Weisman (June 21, 2007). "Dodgers should make room for Kemp, youngsters". SI.com. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/jon_weisman/06/21/dodgers.flux/index.html. Retrieved September 15, 2007. 
  12. ^ Rob McMillan. "Actual Origins of Matt Kemp's Nickname". blogspot.com. http://6-4-2.blogspot.com/2009/02/actual-origins-of-matt-kemps-bison.html. Retrieved September 14, 2009. 
  13. ^ [http://www.slamonline.com/online/the-magazine/2009/07/dime-drop-with-matt-kemp/ Dime Drop with Matt Kemp Slam Online, July 20, 2009
  14. ^ [http://www.eonline.com/uberblog/hwood_party_girl/b167920_rihannas_boyfriend_has_special_birthday.html

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