Jeff Kent Retires After 17 Seasons
MLB, Jeff Kent

How Will Jeff Kent Be Remembered?

1/22/09 in MLB   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

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You might have forgotten he was still playing, but Jeff Kent retired from baseball today after a 17 year career with the Blue Jays, Mets, Indians, Giants, Astros, and finally the Dodgers. For a few years, Kent was among the best hitters in baseball.  For his entire career, he's been known as one of its biggest jackasses. During his tenure with the Giants, he openly fought with Barry Bonds, almost coming to blows a few times. Then of course there was the "washing his truck" incident. Later in his career, there were also issues between him and Milton Bradley. But then again, that might have just been Bradley.

What these problems hide is the fact that Kent was a helluva hitter for a decade, especially for a second basemen. Does it add up to a Hall of Famer though?


Pros for Induction

His career numbers compare favorably to other second basemen. His 377 home runs is more than any other second sacker is baseball history. Kent's career line is .290/.356/.500, good for 123 OPS+. This is a higher figure than all but seven of the second basement in the Hall of Fame. Admittedly though, those seven are probably the best of the best: Hornsby, Lajoie, Collins, Robinson, Morgan, Carew, Gehringer.

Kent had a fantastic ten year peak, starting once he hit San Francisco, including hitting .334/.424/.596 in 2000, winning the NL MVP. This was all done in a pitchers park in San Francisco, and later Dodger Stadium (with a two year stop in Houston). From 1998-2007, Kent hit at least .289, OBP'ed at least .348, and slugged over .500 all but once. Again, this while playing in mostly pitching parks and playing a mostly defensive position.

Cons Against Induction

This might not have much to do with how he played, but Kent is of course seen as a jerk, and it's those instances that get remembered over his hitting.

Kent's career path was quite strange. His peak started at age 29 and went through age 39. Kent hit better in every one of his last 11 seasons (save 2008) than he did at any point in the first five years of his career. It's an odd career path in a time of great speculation of how that happened. That's not an accusation, but portions of the electorate could easily think like this.

Kent was a great offensive player, but had a horrible defensive reputation, frequently ranking near the bottom in both fielding percentage and range factor.

The Verdict

The way it went was a little odd, but in the end, Jeff Kent was one of the best hitting second basemen of all-time, despite the buffoonery and jackassitude. I'm not sure Kent will get in, but at this point, I'm leaning towards believing that he should go in.

What are your thoughts on Jeff Kent's career and potential entrance into the Hall of Fame?
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2/2/09   |   Remmie

 I'm shocked and surprised that nobody has brought this up yet!!  The race card!!  Jeff "Can't" Kent was one of the most racist players in the bigs!!  He was feared at the dish, but what an a$$ everywhere else.  No way did he dominate his position.  I can think of at least three position players better than this guy.

1/24/09   |   jjh8857   |   344 respect

morningline wrote:
Ridiculously overrated - played the media to avoid the fact that he was a miserable teammate.    We wouldn't be having the discussion about the Hall of Fame if he didn't spend six years batting behind Barry Bonds (he hit 175 of his 377 home runs in those years).   One other point, why do we have to have the discussion whether or not he's a first, second or third ballot HOF?  He's either in or out; why would or should credentials change one year over the next?

Amen!  Where have you been?  Someone who's not afraid to take a stand & have a real opinion. 

1/24/09   |   morningline

Ridiculously overrated - played the media to avoid the fact that he was a miserable teammate.    We wouldn't be having the discussion about the Hall of Fame if he didn't spend six years batting behind Barry Bonds (he hit 175 of his 377 home runs in those years).   One other point, why do we have to have the discussion whether or not he's a first, second or third ballot HOF?  He's either in or out; why would or should credentials change one year over the next?

1/23/09   |   jjh8857   |   344 respect

His numbers are better than Sandberg's & Morgan's.

1/23/09   |   elevenbravo138again   |   1163 respect

Jeff "Dick Stiffwood" Kent does deserve induction, but if he gets in before Ron Santo, I'll feel a bit sick.

1/23/09   |   100%InjuryRate   |   1283 respect

He deserves the HOF nod for the 'stache alone.

1/22/09   |   Keeter   |   92 respect

He dominated his position for about 10 years, won an MVP, 3 other Top 10 finishes, 5 All-star games........I say he's in, but for a player not the person......or the 'stache' !!

BOW-CHICKA-BOW-BOW.....................

1/22/09   |   derms33   |   17653 respect

jjh8857 wrote:
?  That's the type of posting I've grown accustomed to reading here.

glad I could help

1/22/09   |   Bravesfan23

   There is no doubt that Jeff Kent is a HOFer.  The man has incredible numbers and the best offensive 2nd baseman in the history of baseball.  I think the most intrguing stat of all is that he actually had more RBIs in his career than Mickey Mantle.  I never would have believed that but the numbers don't lie!  I know his defense wasn't the best but as an all around player I think he is deserving of the Hall of Fame.

1/22/09   |   jjh8857   |   344 respect

derms33 wrote:
He should make the HOF just for Fighting with Barry Bonds

?  That's the type of posting I've grown accustomed to reading here.

1/22/09   |   derms33   |   17653 respect

He should make the HOF just for Fighting with Barry Bonds

1/22/09   |   derms33   |   17653 respect

Kent sucked a$$ when he played for the Indians...

1/22/09   |   spankyc14   |   14 respect

No question he's in...

but he was a douchebag for keeping that moustache going for so long

1/22/09   |   keebs8   |   1701 respect

Wow, I can't believe I have seen a No for the HOF, just a simple breakdown , okay he fought with Barry Bonds when Bond's was having a roid rage, then he fought with Milton " I dont play Monopoly well with others either" Bradley, that guy has fought more often then me and my Ex-wife did. Kent was a solid 2nd baseman, for heaven sakes he has more career RBI's then Mickey Mantle, over 350 career homers, 8 100 plus RBI seasons, if some one like Rickey Henderson(and nothing againts Rickey) gets in Kent is a definite..

1/22/09   |   Boski93   |   375 respect

If there was a Chap Ass Hall of Fame he and Barry Bonds would be in side by side.

Kent was a pretty good player with a great 70's porn stache'. He was also not such a great motorcycle rider and a not very well loved by teammates. He is borderline. Now if he gets in before my man Harold Baines then there will be pointed words directed at someone.

1/22/09   |   ComeOnWestHam

 He is clearly a HOFer based on numbers. If he doesn't get in, it is because of his hatred of the media. 

1/22/09   |   bkuhn

Lets see...gets better after his prime....snaps at the drop of a hat....sports a stache.

not to make accusations

1/22/09   |   Michael_Luchies   |   17 respect

Great article.  I am not in favor of him getting in...but am cool either way.  2nd basemen getting in to the hall of fame for me is like kickers in the NFL.  You know some of them deserve it...but you just don't think they're worthy because their numbers aren't that impressive

1/22/09   |   MWolverines1   |   6 respect

i think he maybe a HOFer but i think there is alot more people that should be in before he gets in

1/22/09   |   kantwistaye   |   4219 respect

Kent is a HOFer, but I won't lose any sleep if he doesn't get in. 

1/22/09   |   Phillygenius82   |   261 respect

Ridiculous moustache wearer!!

1/22/09   |   Raider_Dave   |   47 respect

He should and will be remembered for being the best offensive second baseman of the past 10+ years, as well as one of the Top 10 best offensive second baseman to play the game.  His strifes with Barry Bonds should have no bearing on his status, and if anything, can be seen as a positive that he was against or even enemies with someone who is seen as negatively as Bonds is.

1/22/09   |   jjh8857   |   344 respect

He'll be remembered as someone jealous that Barry Bonds was a thousand times the player he was.

1/22/09   |   tpowell25   |   1627 respect

 Later in his career, there were also issues between him and Milton Bradley. But then again, that might have just been Bradley.

I'm willing to bet that the same could be said about Bonds.

I think Kent is a HOF'er.  He might not be a first ballot selection because of his defense and attitude, but his offensive numbers alone will get him in, IMO.