Currently an American professional baseball player, with an unparalleled passion and athletic trajectory — Matthew Kemp is an exemplary figure of a talent that always aims for above-average, while upholding the grounding values that set him apart from so many in his field.
Born on September 23, 1984 in Midwest City, Oklahoma, Matt was heavily influenced and molded by the immense perseverance of his mother, Judy Henderson. Raising a son as both a single mother and registered nurse, Judy is the foundational pillar that has ingrained Matt’s ability to work hard. More importantly, she helped Matt understand the personal sacrifices faced by many parents in order to provide for their children — just as his mother boldly did. This being a value that would later lead him to continuously expand his efforts in helping communities in need. Adding to his intuitive notion of empathizing in times of adversity, was the loss of his infant brother Tyler, whom Judy gave birth to prematurely. Having experienced such a life altering tragedy at just 13 years old — Matt gained a humility that was beyond his years, and that carried him later in life. Influenced by his mother’s encouragement to overcome challenges, even in the darkest of hours, it is no surprise that Matt Kemp knows no boundaries when it comes to performing.
A stand-out, energetic sports performer since his early years attending Midwest City High School in Oklahoma, Kemp excelled not only in baseball, but also basketball. Having played for the school’s varsity basketball team — Matt proved to be a multi-faceted force even at such a young age, having received multiple D1 level offers from various colleges. However, Matt’s path remained focused on baseball, where he triumphantly displayed his athletic capabilities that would take the sports industry by storm.
Matt initiated his professional career for the Gulf Coast Dodgers in 2003, followed by joining the Columbus Catfish in 2004, the Vero Beach Dodgers in 2004, and in 2005, he was selected to the Florida State League All-Star team. Matt made his major league debut with Los Angeles Dodgers on May 28, 2006, against the Washington Nationals — kicking off the most notable, longstanding and significant stretch of his prominent journey. He got his first career major league hit that same game and hit his first Major League homer on June 1, 2006 in his second Dodger Stadium at-bat hit. To add to his early on-set success, he became the first Dodger and fifth major league player to hit four homers in his first 10 days with the team.
Following this notable rookie year — Matt was an undeniable force among the Los Angeles Dodgers, with a reputable run from 2006 - 2014. Throughout this time, he garnered countless notable performances and honors that showcased his incredible athletic presence. In 2011, he was voted as a starter for the National League squad in the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in Arizona that year — while becoming the first Dodger to reach base twice in an All-Star Game since Mike Piazza in 1996. That same year, Matt hit his 30th home run of the season and in the process became the second Dodger player of all time to hit at least 30 homers and steal at least 30 bases in the same season. Throughout his time with the Los Angeles Dodger, he also picked up his 40th stolen base in 2011, becoming the first Dodger in history to hit at least 30 homers and steal at least 40 bases.
Matt has also earned a variety of post-season awards, respectfully, including the Baseball America Major League Player of the Year award, the Hank Aaron Award for the top hitter in the National League (the first Dodger player to ever win the award) the Gold Glove Award and the Silver Slugger Award. But perhaps one of the most impressive, and poignant indicators of Matt’s talented pinnacle, would be almost earning the National League’s Most Valuable Player Award. Though he may not have won the title — what is most inspiring, and admirably telling of Matt’s character is how proud he was to have been in the same ranks none-the-less. A true sport and player — Matt strives for more than just winning, he focuses on doing his best.
In late 2014, Matt was traded to the San Diego Padres and from 2015 - 2016, he upheld his streak in excellence having become the first player in the Padres' 7,444-game history to hit for the cycle. Matt then joined The Atlanta Braves from 2016-2017, and in 2018, as another impressive indicator of just how sought-after his talent and commitment truly is, the Los Angeles Dodgers brought him back for a second round. During this notable time, Kemp was voted by the fans to start the 2018 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, his third All-Star appearance since 2012. To add, he also homered in his first career World Series at-bat in the 2018 World Series.
Matt is continuing to proudly lead his legacy as an outfielder for the Colorado Rockies this year. With an extensive, noteworthy and well-earned ongoing career in full force — Matt is equally expressing his quintessential spirit of aiding others through his organization, Kemp’s Kids. Founded in 2013, this organization was inspired by Matt’s humble childhood and motivated by his embedded desire to provide for underprivileged youth who lack basic, vital needs. With the joint efforts of his established team, he developed a plan that would allow him to provide essentials including clothing, food, mentorship, education tools and more to hundreds of children and families all over the United States. Aware of the continuous issues that impact the communities around him, such as inadequate healthcare, lack of shelter and supplies, Matt is committed to being a part of the solution. To add, he seeks to provide inspiration and empowerment to those who need it, and like all of his commitments, Matt vows to give it his all. This time, for the greater good of his communities. This year, Matt plans to spread the message of giving back, through the beauty and inspiration of music. Beginning this November (2020) - Kemp’s Kids will initiate what is set to be an annual event, held in the organization’s home base of Dallas, Texas: The Kemp’s Kids Kickback Koncert. The event’s mission is to bring awareness, raise support, and build a future for inner city kids in need — all through the magic of gospel music performed by a multitude of incredible artists.
Today, Matthew Kemp has paved a significant mark within the professional baseball world, and he is well on his way to reaching even greater heights. But while his achievements and noble work speak volumes, it is in his simplicity and modesty — away from the spotlight and recognition — that he is truly seen. Now residing in Dallas, Texas, Matt continues to aim high, always keeping what matters most in tow: his family, friends, and beloved canine companion, Nutella.