Michael McKenry is next up in our MLB Player Chat series! Michael was drafted by the Rockies as a catcher in the seventh round back in 2006 out of Middle Tennessee State University, after starring at Farragut High School in Knoxville.
Four years later, McKenry made his MLB debut with the Rockies. Not long after, the Rockies traded him to the Red Sox for Daniel Turpen. The Red Sox flipped McKenry to the Pirates a few months later.
As a rookie in 2011, McKenry led the Pirates in innings caught, pairing with Ryan Doumit. He split duties the following year with Rod Barajas, and then worked behind Russell Martin on the 2013 Pirates.
McKenry had a two-home run game in 2013, victimizing the Reds’ Mat Latos and Jonathan Broxton in an April win at PNC Park. A few months later McKenry had a four-hit game at Marlins Park. That Bucs team won 94 games, ended the franchise’s 20-year losing streak, and emerged victorious in the Wild Card game against Johnny Cueto and the Reds.
The 2013 season was cut short for McKenry by a knee injury, and the Pirates non-tendered him in December. He inked a minor league deal to return to the Rockies and serve as Wilin Rosario’s backup in 2014. In 192 plate appearances that year, McKenry batted a robust .315/.398/.512 – one of the finest batting lines featured by a catcher.
McKenry finished his MLB career with the Cardinals, snagging a couple last MLB plate appearances in 2016. He also spent time in the Red Sox, Braves, Rangers, Brewers, and Rays organizations. McKenry’s MLB career wrapped up with more than 2,000 innings behind the dish. He paired up with Pirates standout pitchers such as Gerrit Cole, Francisco Liriano, Charlie Morton, and A.J. Burnett.
McKenry hit 29 home runs in his 953 career plate appearances, including shots off Johan Santana and Jonathan Papelbon. He also had the pleasure of hitting a walkoff home run in the bottom of the 11th off the Mariners’ Mayckol Guaipe for the Rockies in 2015. That same year, McKenry nabbed his lone career stolen base off Derek Norris. The man nicknamed “The Fort” managed a fine wRC+ of 109 at the plate back in 2012, plus an excellent 140 mark in 2014.
Today at age 37, Michael serves as a pregame, postgame, and color analyst for the Pirates, as well as a speaker, mentor, and consultant. You can follow him on Twitter @theFortMcKenry.
Michael was kind enough to volunteer some time to take questions about his career, the Pirates’ future, his work in the broadcast booth and quite a bit more in a chat with MLBTR readers today. You can read the transcript of his chat here.
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