|Full Name||Matthew Ryan Kemp|
|Birthday||September 23, 1984|
|Born||Midwest City, Oklahoma|
|MLB Debut||May 28, 2006|
Matthew Kemp is a retired American professional baseball outfielder who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for 15 seasons. During his prolific career, Kemp established himself as one of the premier power hitters and most dynamic outfielders of his era.
Early Life and Amateur Career
Kemp was born and raised in Midwest City, Oklahoma, where he was a standout multi-sport athlete at Midwest City High School. In addition to baseball, Kemp earned All-State honors in football and averaged 20 points per game on the basketball court. His athletic talent was evident from a very young age.
Despite being drafted out of high school by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2002, Kemp opted to attend college at Oklahoma’s Seminole State College. After one season, he was drafted again by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 6th round of the 2003 MLB draft. Kemp signed with the Dodgers and immediately impressed with his power and speed as he rose through their minor league system.
Breakout Superstar with the Los Angeles Dodgers
After making his MLB debut in 2006, Kemp became entrenched as the Dodgers‘ starting center fielder and a linchpin of their lineup. In 2009, he had his first All-Star season and lead the NL with 11 triples. However, his 2011 season truly catapulted Kemp into superstardom.
In 2011, Kemp led the National League in home runs (39) and RBIs (126), falling just short of a Triple Crown with a .324 batting average. He became just the 11th 40/40 player in MLB history by slugging 39 homers and stealing 40 bases. For this epic MVP-caliber season, Kemp earned the prestigious Hank Aaron and Silver Slugger awards while also capturing his first Gold Glove.
During his 9 seasons with the Dodgers, Kemp made 3 All-Star teams and established himself as one of the most feared sluggers in the sport. Dodgers fans will forever remember Kemp as a central figure of the franchise‘s return to greatness in the late 2000s after years of mediocrity.
Later Career and Retirement
Injuries began taking their toll on Kemp starting in 2012, which impacted his power numbers and defensive range. However, he still produced quality seasons for the Dodgers and later had stints with the Padres, Braves, Reds and Mets. Kemp returned for a final season with the Dodgers in 2018 before officially retiring in 2021.
While injuries prevented Kemp from sustaining his prime level of play, he had an exceptional 15-year career. He hit over 150 home runs for the Dodgers, including multiple 35+ HR seasons. Kemp brought passion and excellence to the field every day, cementing his legacy as a Dodgers great.
Matt Kemp‘s Career Highlights and Accolades
- 3x All-Star (2009, 2011, 2012)
- 2x Silver Slugger Award Winner (2009, 2011)
- Gold Glove Award Winner (2011)
- NL Hank Aaron Award Winner (2011)
- Hit over 35 home runs in a season twice (2011, 2012)
- Stole over 30 bases in a season five times
- 281 career home runs
- 1,031 career RBIs
Interesting Facts About Matt Kemp
- Kemp was an elite two-sport prep athlete, excelling in football and basketball.
- He overcame injuries and early struggles to become a MLB star.
- Kemp dated music superstar Rihanna for several years beginning in 2010.
- He has a charitable foundation supporting youth in Oklahoma and L.A.
- Kemp appeared as himself on a 2010 episode of How I Met Your Mother.
Frequently Asked Questions
When did Matt Kemp make his MLB debut?
Kemp made his MLB debut on May 28, 2006 with the Los Angeles Dodgers at age 21.
What was Matt Kemp‘s best season?
Kemp‘s best season was in 2011 when he led the NL in homers (39) and RBIs (126), finished 2nd in MVP voting, and won the Hank Aaron, Silver Slugger and Gold Glove awards.
How many All-Star teams did Matt Kemp make?
Kemp was selected to 3 All-Star teams over his career in 2009, 2011 and 2012.
What teams did Matt Kemp play for?
Over his 15-year MLB career, Kemp played for the L.A. Dodgers (2006-2014, 2018), San Diego Padres (2015-16), Atlanta Braves (2016), Cincinnati Reds (2017) and New York Mets (2019).