Childhood & Early Life
Kershaw was born on March 19, 1988, in Dallas, Texas, to Marianne (née Tombaugh) and Christopher George Kershaw, a musician who has won the ‘Clio Award.’ He was raised by his mother, as his parents divorced when he was 10.
Kershaw studied at the ‘Highland Park High School’ and was part of his school baseball team and the youth sports league. In the ‘Pan American Championship,’ he pitched for the ‘USA Baseball’s junior national team.
During his high-school years, his talent was recognized and he became known as one of the best baseball prospects of the country. In 2006, he received the ‘Gatorade National Player of the Year’ honor for his baseball skills.
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Kershaw entered the 2006 ‘MLB Draft’ and was chosen by the ‘LA Dodgers’ as the seventh overall pick. He was thinking of accepting the ‘Texas A&M University’ scholarship but chose to sign with the ‘Dodgers’ instead. He received the largest signing bonus of that time, amounting to $2.3 million.
Kershaw began the professional game with the ‘Gulf Coast League’ (GLC), the rookie-level minor-league affiliate of the ‘LA Dodgers.’ In 2007, he moved up to the ‘Great Lakes Loons,’ a Class-A affiliate of the ‘LA Dodgers.’ He was chosen to participate in the ‘Midwest League All-Star Game’ and the ‘All-Star Future Games.’
In August 2007, he was promoted to the ‘Southern League’ and played for ‘Jacksonville Suns,’ a double-A team. His record in this team (1–2, with 3.65 ERA) made him one of the best prospects among the ‘Dodgers.’
Kershaw made his ‘MLB’ debut on May 25, 2008, with the ‘Dodgers,’ against the ‘St. Louis Cardinals.’ For one year, he was the youngest player in ‘MLB.’ His first major league win was on July 27, 2008, against the ‘Washington Nationals.’
His record for the 2009 regular season was 2.79 ERA, with 185 strikeouts. Kershaw made his post-season playoff debut in the 2009 ‘National League Division Series’ (NLDS), again against the ‘St. Louis Cardinals.’ He experienced some set-backs during the 2010 season but completed the season with a win–loss ratio of 13–10 and a 2.91 ERA. He finished the season on a high note, with a complete game shutout against San Francisco, and was chosen as the ‘Opening Day Starter’ for the 2011 season.
Beginning the 2011 season as the ‘Opening Day Starter’ (the first of his record eight straight ‘Opening Day’ starts, from 2011 to 2018), Kershaw recorded many high points of his career in this season. He was the first ‘Dodger’ starter (since Jeff Weaver in 2005) to score consecutive complete game victories. He won the ‘National League Player of the Week’ award for June 20 to 26 and the ‘National League Pitcher of the Month’ award for July 2011. He earned his first ‘All-Star Selection’ when he was selected for the 2011 ‘MLB All-Star Game.’ In this season, he led the league with 21 wins, 2.28 ERA, and 248 strikeouts. He earned the ‘Triple Crown’ for pitching (first ‘Dodger’ since Sandy Koufax in 1996) and also won the ‘National League Cy Young Award.’ He won many other awards, too, such as the ‘Warren Spahn Award’ for the best left-handed pitcher, the ‘Players Choice Award for Most Outstanding National League Pitcher,’ the ‘Gold Glove Award’ for the top fielding pitcher in the league.
For the second year in a row, he was selected for the 2012 ‘MLB All-Star Game.’ He was the runner-up for the ‘Cy Young Award.’ He led the league in ERA (2.53). In the 2013 season, he won his second ‘Cy Young Award’ and ‘Warren Spahn Award.’ Kershaw also signed a 7-year, $215-million contract extension with the ‘Dodgers.’
In the 2014 season, he broke his own previous record of low ERA with 1.77 ERA. On June 18, 2014, he pitched a “no-hitter” game. Winning his third ‘Cy Young Award’ he joined the “Hall of Famers” in earning three ‘Cy Young’ awards in four seasons. He also won the league’s ‘MVP Award’ and became first pitcher (since Bob Gibson in 1968) to win it and only the third pitcher to win both the ‘NL’ awards in the same season. He was selected for the ‘All-star Game’ for the fourth consecutive time.
The second half of 2014 and the first half of 2015 were not as profitable for him as his earlier seasons. Initially, Kershaw was not included in the 2015 ‘All-Star Game,’ but he later participated as a replacement. Thus, it was his fifth straight ‘All-Star Game.’
In the 2016 season, he became the first ‘Dodger’ to win 6 straight ‘Opening Day’ games started by him. Kershaw also recorded his career-best ERA of 1.69. He suffered back pain during this season. Although he was included in the 2016 ‘All-Star Game,’ he could not play due to his pain. He was placed on the disabled list for a long period.
The 2017 season saw his seventh straight ‘Opening Day’ start and his selection to the seventh straight ‘All-Star Game.’ In July, he was placed on the disabled list due to his back issue. Yet, he finished the league with 2.31 ERA and 18 wins. He helped his team win their fifth straight divisional title, and the ‘Dodgers’ entered their first ‘World Series’ in 29 years.
In 2017, Kershaw played his first ‘World Series.’ Although he remained the league’s best pitcher during the regular season, his pitching during the post-season playoffs allowed 8 home runs in his 6 playoff appearances. The ‘Dodgers’ lost the ‘World Series’ to the ‘Houston Astros.’
In the 2018 season, Kershaw was the ‘Opening Day’ starter again, marking his record eighth opening. However, he was put on the disabled list due to bicep tendinitis and back pain. His season’s records showed a dip, and thus, his ‘All-Star Game’ appearances ended after 7 consecutive years. His team again won an entry to the ‘World Series,’ but Kershaw failed in his two starts. The ‘Dodgers’ were out of the series in 5 games.
Family & Personal Life
Kershaw married Ellen Melson on December 4, 2010. They had studied together earlier at the ‘Highland Park High School’ and had dated for 7 years before tying the knot. Their daughter, Cali Ann, was born in January, 2015, and their son, Charley Clayton, was born in November, 2016.
On a Christian mission to Zambia (2011) with his wife, Kershaw pledged to build an orphanage in Lusaka, Zambia. He named it ‘Hope’s Home’ after an 11-year-old HIV patient named Hope, whom he had met in Zambia. In collaboration with ‘Cure International,’ he continues to raise funds to help the children of Zambia, especially for their medical needs. The couple has established ‘Kershaw’s Challenge’ to help raise funds for many charities, such as ‘Arise Africa,’ ‘Peacock Foundation,’ ‘Mercy Street,’ and ‘I Am Second.’
In 2013, the couple launched ‘Ping Pong 4 Purpose,’ a charity ping-pong tournament to raise funds for several charity causes. In January 2012, they released the book ‘Arise: Live Out Your Faith and Dreams on Whatever Field You Find Yourself.’ His humanitarian work has won him a ‘Roberto Clemente Award’ and a ‘Branch Rickey Award.’