Kody Kirkland Interview

Kody Kirkland was originally drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 30th round (894th overall) of the 2001 MLB Amateur Draft.

After signing with the Pirates in May of 2003, he was assigned to their Gulf Coast League team where had a .306 batting average in 46 games.

Kirkland played only one season in the Pirates organization. He was traded to the Detroit Tigers as part of the Randall Simon trade in 2003.

In 2004, Kirkland had one of his best seasons playing for the Oneonta Tigers (A-) in the New York-Penn League. That season he hit .304 with 11 triples, 4 home runs, 49 RBI, and 14 stolen bases.

The following season he was promoted to West Michigan(A), and his power numbers continued to grow. He hit 30 doubles, with 11 triples, 10 home runs and 61 RBI in 129 games for the White Caps that season.

Kirkland had another great season in 2005, hitting .266 with 16 home runs and 65 RBI for Lakeland(A+) in the Florida State League.

In 2006, Kirkland was promoted again, this time to Double-A Erie. He continued to excel, putting up 22 home runs and 65 RBI in 119 games. He was called up to Triple-A Toledo toward the end of the sseason.

Kirkland started the 2007 seasons back in Erie. While his batting average slumped, his power numbers continued to be strong. That season he hit 15 home runs with 51 RBI.

In 2008, Kirkland split time between the Double-A Erie, and Triple-A Toledo.

Kirkland signed with the Atlanta Braves organization in 2009, and hit .211 with 4 home runs and 22 RBI in 105 games between Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett.

In 2010, Kirkland signed with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs of the Atlantic League. In his first season in the Atlantic League he went on a tear, hitting .303 with 6 triples, 10 home runs, 39 RBI and 10 stolen bases in only 63 games. His fast start didn't go unnoticed. On July 23, 2010 he had his contract purchased by the Houston Astros organization and was assigned to Double-A Corpus Christi. Kirkland finished the 2010 season, by hitting .286 with 2 home runs and 8 RBI in 19 games for the Hooks.

Kirkland came back to the Blue Crabs in 2011, and hit .245 with 6 home runs and 20 RBI in 46 games.

On March 13, 2012, Kirkland has his rights traded from Southern Maryland to York, and then to Lancaster in a three-way trade.
Kody took some time to answer some quetions for us.  

CM: Growing up in Idaho, what was your favorite baseball team? Favorite player? 

KK: I grew up being a braves fan, I assume because that's who was always on television and I loved the tomahawk chop. The "Iron Man," Cal Ripken Jr. is my favorite player.

CM: In 2001, you were drafted by the Pirates in the 30th Round (894th Overall) of the 2001 MLB Draft. Do you remember where you were when it happened? What was your reaction?

KK: I was sitting in my basement waiting for that phone call. At the time our house phone had a different ring for when it was a long distance call. When I heard the phone ring I just knew. It was one of the best days of my life...... Not every day you get drafted and get to graduate high school on the same day. 

CM: In 2003 you were traded to the Tigers organization. How did you feel being traded so early in your career?

KK: Being traded was a very bitter sweet feeling. I was just getting comfortable with the organization and my teammates and really feeling at home. Then all of a sudden you are back to square one with not only another team but a whole organization. I felt good that someone liked me enough to trade for me, but then again someone also let me go.

CM: After the trade you had one of your best seasons in Oneonta. What was it like playing in Oneonta which is so far from Idaho at such a young age (20 years old)?

KK: I had a great time in "O" town. The New York-Penn League was one of my favorite leagues with all the cities. It was nice eating free lunch every day. They pretty much gave away the key to the town if you hit an extra base-hit.

 CM: You worked your way up through the Tigers organization and in 2008 made it to Triple-A. What was your favorite memory being in the Tigers system?

KK: One of my favorite memories with the Tigers was winning a ring on 2004 in the Midwest League, then being put on the 40-man roster and getting to play with and against players I have looked up to since I was young.

CM: Did you think you were going to get your opportunity to play in the majors? Were you disappointed that you didn't?

KK: Of course I thought I was going to get my chance and I still do. I was as close as could have been to the big leagues and was in a great place, but mentally I tried to control things that you can't and that was hard. I've  bounced back after a long road.

CM: Was there a favorite team you or city you played for?

KK: I liked playing in Toledo with the great fans and a beautiful stadium.

CM: In 2010, you signed with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. What were you first thoughts of joining the Blue Crabs and the Atlantic League?

KK: I thought "indy ball"...has it really come to this. I knew nothing about independent baseball and the Atlantic league. But what a place to play when you are trying to get back! In 2010 I believe I played on one of the best teams I have ever been apart of. We played to win and that is a very easy thing to loose when you are with an organization.

CM: Who's your favorite teammate?

KK: I have way too many favorite team mates to name just one, but Eric Rodland and Kelly Hunt were two teammate of mine that helped me find the Lord and I can never thank them enough. 

CM: What was it like the first time you saw yourself on a baseball card?

KK: The first time I saw myself on a card I was so proud. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. 

CM: If you could play catch with on person dead or alive who would it be?

KK: I would love to play catch with Ted Williams and just take baseball.

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