Sunday, March 20, 2011
I always liked Fred Kendall as a player. He was the typical weak hitting catcher, yet valued for his experience and ability to handle a pitching staff. I got to see Fred play as well as his son, Jason, also a catcher. I've also seen Fred as a bullpen or pitching coach and even heckled him a time or two in the 'pen while observing his pitchers warm up. Fred spent ten of his twelve seasons with the Friars, with brief lunch engagements in Cleveland and Boston near the end before returning to SD.
Cartoon: It's a good thing Fred didn't play Bob Uecker ball.
Ballpark background: I had a tough time with the location of this photo. It's clearly a wide open space, wider than many spaces. The Padres used to play spring training in Yuma, AZ in the old days. I don't know if they did in '73 when this picture was likely taken. This was their home yellows in '73. (Notice the yellow tongue flap on his spikes! Brian Wilson eat your heart out!) There's something above Fred's helmet at the top of the picture that goes from his helmet to the right of the card. It looks like the top rail of the chain link fence in the background. At first, I thought that looked like the bridge that goes from San Diego to Corona island, and that the photo might have been taken in San Diego. I'm not even sure that bridge would have been built in 1973. But there's just not enough other things in the background for it to be San Diego. Plus the bridge really does appear to be the top rail of a fence after all. So, I'm going to guess Yuma at spring training.