May 6, 1973 |
|September 8, 1998, for the New York Mets|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 28, 2003, for the Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Runs batted in||48|
|Representing the United States|
|2000 Sydney||Team competition|
Michael Arthur Kinkade (born May 6, 1973 in Livonia, Michigan) is a former Major League Baseball player who was primarily a left fielder, but also spent time as a first baseman, right fielder, third baseman, designated hitter, and catcher.
Kinkade is 6'1" tall and weighs 210 pounds, and bats and throws right-handed.
After graduating from Tigard High School in Tigard, Oregon, Kinkade was a collegiate star at Washington State University, where he played college baseball for the Cougars from 1992–1995. He was a third-team All-American in 1994, and became the school's leader in career hits with 304, a mark he still holds. Kinkade had been drafted in by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 19th round of the 1994 June draft, with the 515th overall pick, but elected to return to school for his senior year instead of turning pro. The Brewers drafted him again the next year, in the ninth round with the 236th overall pick, and this time he signed the contract.
Kinkade was an immediate success in the minor leagues, splitting time between catching and playing in the outfield. He was a Pioneer League All-Star in his first professional season in 1995, compiling a .353 batting average with 26 stolen bases and more walks than strikeouts. The next season, Kinkade was again an All-Star, this time in the Midwest League. He was even more productive in 1997, when he was named the Most Valuable Player of the class AA Texas League. He batted .385 with a .455 on-base percentage, a .588 slugging percentage, and 17 stolen bases, though he also committed 60 errors in the field.
On July 31, 1998, the Brewers traded Kinkade to the New York Mets, in exchange for left-handed pitcher Bill Pulsipher. Along with fellow pitching prospects Jason Isringhausen and Paul Wilson, Pulsipher had been promoted by the Mets as a part of "Generation K", a trio of starting pitchers who were supposed to carry the team's rotation for the next decade. Isringhausen and Wilson sustained arm injuries, while Pulsipher encountered control problems, and none enjoyed any substantial success with the Mets.
After the trade, Kinkade struggled with the Mets' AAA affiliate at Norfolk. He made his major league debut on September 8, 1998, in a 16-4 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies, but struggled to establish himself in the bigs. Kinkade appeared in a total of 31 games with the Mets in 1998 and 1999, but was sent all the way down to the class AA Binghamton Mets for the 2000 season, the same level he had mastered three years before.
Surprisingly, Kinkade's season in Binghamton marked a resurgence in his career. He was named to the Eastern League All-Star team, and on July 28, was traded to the Baltimore Orioles, giving him a fresh start with a new franchise. The Mets sent Kinkade, Melvin Mora, Lesli Brea, and prospect Pat Gorman to the Orioles, in order to acquire All-Star shortstop Mike Bordick for a playoff run. Bordick helped the Mets reach the World Series that year, but the deal proved costly; Bordick returned to the Orioles as a free agent that off-season, and Mora developed into a star in his own right.
Kinkade appeared in three games with the Orioles at the end of the year, then left for Sydney to represent the United States of America at the 2000 Summer Olympics. America's baseball team won the gold medal, and Kinkade played a key role, getting on base in the seventh inning of a semifinal game against South Korea and scoring America's second run in a come-from-behind 3-2 win.
Kinkade experienced his first real major league success in 2001, batting .275 with a .345 OBP in 160 at bats with the Orioles. He signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers as a free agent that off-season, then enjoyed tremendous success as a bench player, batting .380 with seven extra-base hits in only 50 at bats. Kinkade was less successful in a return engagement with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2003, though he did finish fifth in the National League with 16 hit-by-pitches. He played in Japan with the Hanshin Tigers in 2004, then spent 2005 in the Cleveland Indians organization with the Buffalo Bisons, 2006 in the Florida Marlins organization with the Albuquerque Isotopes.He spent 2007 in the Chicago Cubs organization with the Iowa Cubs and as a third baseman for the Trenton Thunder, the New York Yankees Double-A affiliate. On February 23, 2008, he signed a minor league contract with the Seattle Mariners.