Joe Kennedy

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Joseph Darley Kennedy
(The Patriarch)

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Biographical Information[edit]

Joe Kennedy was selected by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the 8th round of the 1998 amateur draft and made his pro debut with the Princeton Devil Rays that summer, going 6-4 with a 3.76 ERA in 13 starts. He spent the entire 1999 campaign with the Hudson Valley Renegades, where he went 6-5 with a 2.65 ERA and 101 strikeouts in 16 starts. He led the New York-Penn League in strikeouts, starts and innings pitched (95). He was 5th in ERA and made the NYPL All-Star team as the top lefthanded pitcher. The next season, 2000, he continued to put up impressive numbers, that year with the Charleston RiverDogs, with whom he was 11-6 with a 3.31 ERA and 142 strikeouts in 136 innings. He had a 17-strikeout game, the best in the affiliated US minor leagues that year.

Kennedy went 6-0 with a 0.99 ERA in 2001 in 11 starts between the Orlando Rays and Durham Bulls; at one point, he did not allow a run in five straight starts. Baseball America named him the top pitching prospect and #4 prospect overall in the 2001 Southern League. He was called up to join the Devil Rays rotation in June. He went 7-8 with a 4.44 ERA in 20 starts in his rookie campaign in the majors. The next year, 2002, he went 8-11 with a 4.53 ERA in a full season with the Rays. He also finished second in the American League with 5 complete games. In 2003, he went 3-12 with a 6.13 ERA for the club and was moved to the bullpen for part of the season.

Following the 2003 season, Kennedy was sent to the Colorado Rockies as part of a three-team trade. He responded by having his best season in the majors, going 9-7 with a 3.66 ERA for the Rockies in 2004. Despite playing his home games at Coors Field, he put up better numbers at home, posting a 6-1 mark and notching a 3.59 ERA in Colorado. He went 4-8 in the first half of the 2005 season and his ERA ballooned to 7.08 before the Rockies traded him to the Oakland Athletics in mid-season. Splitting the remainder of the year between the bullpen and the rotation, he went 4-5 with a 4.45 ERA.

Kennedy pitched entirely out of the pen for the A's in 2006, going 4-1 with a 2.31 ERA in 39 games. That year he pitched in the postseason for the only time of his career, giving up no runs in 4 appearances, totaling 3 2/3 innings, in the ALCS against the Detroit Tigers. He earned himself the number 5 starter spot in the Oakland rotation in spring 2007. He was 2-7 with a 4.28 ERA when he lost his starting spot with the club in July. About a month later, he was selected off waivers by the Arizona Diamondbacks. With Arizona, he allowed 6 earned runs in 3 relief appearances, and he was released after less than two weeks with the club. He was subsequently signed by the Toronto Blue Jays, with whom he went 1-0 with a 5.14 ERA in 9 appearances out of the pen. Kennedy became a free agent following the season.

Kennedy's best seasons came with Tampa Bay, Colorado and Oakland. His main teammates were Todd Helton, Randy Winn, Nick Swisher, Mark Ellis, Jeromy Burnitz, Ben Grieve, Jason Kendall, Dan Haren, Eric Chavez and Huston Street.

While visiting in-laws in Florida, Kennedy tragically died in November of 2007 at the age of 28 after passing out in the middle of the night.

Kennedy was nicknamed "The Patriarch" by baseball writers and announcers, as a play on the Kennedy political family, whose patriarch was Joseph (Joe) Kennedy; he was not related to them however.

"He was just a fun-loving guy with a lot of heart. You could see what a great guy he was by the way he was around my daughter" - Todd Helton

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