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High School and College Career Edit
Mench attended The Independence School and St. Mark's High School in Delaware. Following high school, Mench attended the University of Delaware where he led the Blue Hens to the NCAA tournament in 1998 and 1999. In 1998, Mench led the NCAA with 33 home runs and knocked in 72 runs to earn Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Year and consensus All-America Honors. On June 2, 1999, the Texas Rangers drafted Mench in the fourth round with the 118th overall pick. For his accomplishments, Mench was inducted into the University of Delaware athletics hall of fame in 2005.
Professional career Edit
In his rookie year, 2002, Mench hit 15 home runs, tied for third among rookies, and drove in 60 runs. He finished 7th in the American League Rookie of the Year balloting. After an injury-plagued 2003, Mench responded in 2004 by setting career bests in batting average (.279), home runs (26), RBI (71) and slugging percentage (.539). He followed that up by posting similar numbers in 2005, though in 25 more games.
On April 26, 2006, Kevin Mench became the 19th player in Major League History to hit a home run in at least six straight games. The streak started, oddly, not too long after Mench discovered that a recurring toe injury was due to a shoe problem – he had been wearing size 12 shoes since his teenage years, but discovered his actual shoe size was 12 1/2. The discovery of this shoe problem led some to hope that Mench would fulfill the shining expectations many baseball writers had of him, including former Mets GM Steve Phillips and analyst Omid Sarmad. ESPN also voted him as a candidate for "breakout player of the year."
On April 28, Kevin Mench extended his home run streak to seven straight games, shattering his own franchise record with the Texas Rangers, and setting an all-time record for right-handed batters. The current record for most consecutive games with a home run is 8, held by Dale Long, Don Mattingly, and Ken Griffey, Jr.
On July 26, 2006, Mench hit a 2 run double against the New York Yankees, the 50,000th hit in Rangers franchise history; two days later, he was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers along with Francisco Cordero, Laynce Nix, and Julian Cordero for Carlos Lee and Nelson Cruz.
During the subsequent off-season, Mench had been repeatedly criticized by Brewers fans on radio programs for his lackluster 2006 performance with the Brewers. Mench hit only .230 with 1 home run and 18 runs batted in for the Brewers. Mench also stated he did not want to platoon in left field, taken by many fans as an excessive demand considering his performance for the Brewers so far.
The consensus around Major League Baseball is that he has the largest head in the game, size 8. In fact, his teammates on the Rangers went so far as to create a green Shrek helmet for him to wear, although Major League Baseball would not allow him to do so. Mench's teammates in Milwaukee called him The Mighty Peking Man.
He was one of the most popular Rangers players among fans, who found his happy-go-lucky demeanor appealing. However, he was not so popular with Blue Jays fans after hitting Roy Halladay (who is now his teammate) with a line drive, which left the ace pitcher injured for the rest of the 2005 season.
He is a good friend of noted character actor Keith David, after whom he named his first born son Keith "Woogie" Mench.