The first home run by an Angels hitter in 2009 was produced by Howard Kendrick in the fifth inning on Monday night against Oakland lefty Dallas Braden. It was a blast, to right center, where Kendrick generates most of his power. Earlier, Kendrick had driven in the first run of the season with a line-drive single to right.
Future batting champ at work.
He’s going to be Howard Kendrick on mlb.com this season, not Howie. He is Howard in the Angels’ media guide, and, most importantly, he is Howard to his wife, Jody.
We talked about this one bright afternoon during Spring Training, new mom Jody holding Christmas baby son Owen Howard Kendrick, at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Jody told me they’ve learned to separate private Howard from public, baseball Howie, but I’m going with Howard.
When I asked him about it, Kendrick related the story of how a bubble gum card company wanted to use Howie, not Howard, on his card, and being the easy-going, agreeable gentleman he is, he said fine. Then it was a PA guy at a Minor League park calling him Howie, and it has stuck.
“When I hear people in the stands call Howie, I know they don’t know me,” Kendrick told me. “When I hear them say Howard, then I look. Those are the people who know me.”
Howard fits him. It was the name given him by his parents. Howie was somebody’s creation. I’m going with Howard here.
Besides, I’ve always believed in this truism: When in doubt, go with what the wife says. Jody Jensen, Mrs. Kendrick, says Howard. That clinches it for me.