Early life and high school
Kinsler's father was a warden at the state prison on Tucson's Southeast Side.
Kinsler graduated from Canyon del Oro High School in the Tucson suburb of Oro Valley, Arizona. He helped lead the baseball team to state titles in 1997 and 2000. He hit .380 as a junior, to earn 2nd-team all-league honors, and .504 with 5 home runs and 26 stolen bases during his senior year, in which he was named 1st-team all-state and 1st-team all-league. Outfielder Brian Anderson of the Chicago White Sox, was his best friend and teammate in high school.
Kinsler was featured in the 2008 Hank Greenberg 75th Anniversary edition of Jewish Major Leaguers Baseball Cards, published in affiliation with Fleer Trading Cards and the American Jewish Historical Society, commemorating the Jewish Major Leaguers from 1871 through 2008. He joins, among other Jewish major leaguers, Brad Ausmus, Kevin Youkilis, Ryan Braun, Brian Horwitz, Gabe Kapler, Jason Marquis, Jason Hirsh, John Grabow, Craig Breslow, and Scott Schoeneweis. Kinsler is one of three Jewish players in the 2008 All-Star Game, joining Youkilis and Braun. Kinsler says that "Youkilis will always say something to me on the bases [referring to the fact that they are both Jewish]. 'Happy Passover,' he'll throw something at me."
Draft and college
He was drafted by his home state Arizona Diamondbacks in 2000 (29th round) and 2001 (26th round), but declined to sign.
He opted instead to take a college tour, attending Central Arizona College (hitting .405 with 17 doubles, 37 RBIs, and 24 stolen bases; named 2nd-team All-ACCAC), Arizona State (where he played alongside fellow middle infielder Dustin Pedroia), and the University of Missouri (.335/.416/.536, with 16 steals in 17 attempts).
The Texas Rangers selected Kinsler in the 17th round in the 2003 draft as a shortstop.
Minor league career
He had a breakout year in 2004, splitting the season between the low-A Clinton Lumberkings (.401/.465/.687 in 224 at bats) and the AA Frisco RoughRiders (.300/.400/.480 in 277 at bats). Overall, in 501 at bats Kinsler had 51 doubles, 20 home runs, 103 runs, 99 RBIs, 18 HBP, and 23 steals. He tied for 1st in the minor leagues in doubles (51), and was 7th in batting average (.345).
Kinsler was named to the Midwest League all star team at shortstop. Baseball America rated him the 11th-best prospect in the minors, the # 8 prospect in the Midwest League, and the # 9 prospect in the Texas League. Kinsler was also named the Rangers' Minor League Player of the Year.
Kinsler spent 2005 at AAA with the Oklahoma Redhawks, transitioning from shortstop to second base. He hit .274 with 23 home runs, 102 runs, 94 RBIs, and 12 steals in 14 attempts, in 530 at bats. His solid season contributed to the Rangers' decision to trade Alfonso Soriano during the 2005-06 offseason.
Major league career
Texas Rangers (2006-present)
Kinsler won the Rangers' starting second base job in spring training, 2006. He made his Major League debut in a game against the Boston Red Sox on April 3, 2006. He also got his first Major League hit in the same game, off Curt Schilling. He was hitting .476 before he dislocated his left thumb sliding into second base on April 11, 2006. On May 25, 2006, Kinsler came back after being on the 15-day disabled list. He went 3-4 with a single and 2 home runs, to lead the Rangers to an 8-7 victory over the Oakland Athletics.
Kinsler finished 2006 with a .286 batting average, 14 home runs, 11 stolen bases, and 55 RBIs in 423 at bats. He batted .300 with runners in scoring position, and .333 when the game was late and close.
After a successful rookie season, Kinsler seemed to have the starting second base job locked up, as the Rangers elected to let fellow second baseman Mark Derosa walk in free agency.
Defensively, Kinsler led all AL second basemen in both range (5.58) and errors (18).
Kinsler was named the American League Player of the Week for the period ending April 15th. He batted .476 (10-for-21) with four home runs, eight RBIs, and seven runs scored. His nine home runs in April tied a team record for that month.
In 2007, Kinsler had 20 home runs (leading all AL second basemen), and was 23-2 in stolen base attempts. He was one of only 6 batters in the AL to have at least 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases, along with Alex Rodriguez, Gary Sheffield, Grady Sizemore, B.J. Upton, and Curtis Granderson. It was the seventh time in franchise history a player reached the 20-20 plateau. He did this despite a stress fracture in his left foot, which kept him under 500 at-bats.
Kinsler finished the year 7th in the American League in power/speed number (21.4), 9th in sacrifice hits (8), and tied for 10th in bunt hits (5). On defense, Kinsler led all major league second basemen in range factor (5.69), leading the league for the second straight year.
Contract. In February 2008 Kinsler signed a five-year deal worth $22 million guaranteed, which will jump to $32 million if the Rangers exercise an option for 2013. It could buy him out of two years of free agency. He will receive a raise to $500,000 in 2008, and a $1 million signing bonus. The contract will go to $3 million in 2009, $4 million in 2010, $6 million in 2011, and $7 million in 2012. If the Rangers choose not to exercise the $10 million option, Kinsler will receive a $500,000 buyout. If he is traded, both the buyout and option year would increase by $500,000. With the option, the commitment would be the largest the Rangers have made to a player who they drafted and developed. "Ian represents the past, present, and future of this organization," said assistant general manager Thad Levine. "It's a lot of money," Kinsler said. "I've never imagined being in this position in my life."
"I'm going to play the same regardless of whether I'm making $5 or $1 trillion," he said. "It really doesn't make a difference to me. I'm going to go out there and play hard and money doesn't bring respect. The way you play the game brings respect. When I finish playing the game, it's not how much money I made that is going to be legacy. It's how I played the game and what I did on the field."
Regular Season. While initially reluctant, Rangers manager Ron Washington committed to Kinsler being the team's leadoff hitter in 2008. "I didn't think he was the prototype leadoff hitter, but the guy proved me wrong," Washington said. "He'll take a walk or get one run for us with one swing of the bat. He can bunt, he can run and he can hit the ball to the other side."
All-Star. Kinsler was a 2008 AL All Star.
Season Statistics. Through July 10th, Kinsler was leading the AL in batting average (.333), runs (82), hits (128), total bases (209), extra base hits (49), at bats (384), and plate appearances (436). He was also second in doubles (31) and power/speed number (17.4), third in sacrifices (6), fourth in singles (79), fifth in stolen bases (23) and triples (4), and seventh in on base percentage (.393), slugging percentage (.594), and sacrifice flies (5).
In the field, he was also leading all major league second basemen with a 5.73 range factor and 89 double plays.
- Married his high school sweetheart Tess Brady on November 18, 2006.
- Kinsler's five strangest autograph requests were a diaper, neck brace, yarmulke, kids' arms, and giant baseball.
- He and wife Tess are expecting their first child this November.
| width="50%" align="left" valign="top" |
- 2004 - Baseball America 2nd-team Minor League All-Star SS
- 2004 - Low A All-Star SS
- 2004 - Midwest League All-Star SS
- 2004 - Texas Rangers Minor League Player of the Year
| width="50%" align="left" valign="top" |
- 2006 - Texas Rangers Rookie of the Year
- 2007 - American League Player of the Week (Mid-April)
- 2008 - American League All-Star
- Opinion by Greg Hansen: Hard work got most of 38 Tucsonans to big leagues | www.azstarnet.com ®
- http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/news/x1192322494/Shedding-light-on-baseballs-Jewish-history "Shedding light on baseball's Jewish history," The MetroWest Daily News, 5/19/08, accessed 6/16/08
- 5 Ian Kinsler MLB Baseball at CBSSports.com
- The Official Site of Major League Baseball: Stats: League Leaders
- Kinsler deal a priority for Texas Rangers | Sports News | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas
- Worcester Telegram & Gazette News
- Texas Rangers' Kinsler gets five-year, $22 million deal | Sports News | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas
- Texas Rangers news | Sports News | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas