Thursday, January 22, 2009
Jeff Kent: Son of a bitch, Hall of Famer
Baseball lost one of its best mustaches today. I mean, come on...that thing is magical. Something Jason Giambi could only dream about having. In all seriousness though, the Dodgers Jeff Kent called it a career today, and before you shrug it off as just some over-the-hill infielder retiring, take a look at his numbers. Kent retires as the all time homerun leader among second basemen with 377, 74 more than Cub legend Ryne Sandberg. He also drove in 1,518 runs, had a career batting average of .290, and a slugging percentage of .500. So what does this all mean? Hall of Famer. No doubt about it. The numbers are comparable to those of recently inducted Jim Rice, but more imporantly, they are arguably the best ever for any second baseman in the history of the game. However, if recent Hall of Fame voting has taught us anything, its that voters hold grudges and if you weren't nice to certain members of the media, your train to Cooperstown may be delayed. And lets face it... Kent was on ornery son of a bitch. He was a meat and potatoes kind of guy who clashed with a lot of teammates, and was vocal against athletes who used steroids. Not surprisingly he had infamous battles with Barry Bonds and Milton Bradley, leading to dugout dustups and pretty entertaining TV. You can't really fault him for hating Barry Bonds can you? Even the holier-than-thou Hall voters might give him some credit for feuding with Barry. But if Kent doesn't get in on credentials alone, its ridiculous. Prick or no prick, he was a five time All-Star, four time Silver Slugger award, and won the N.L. MVP in 2000 with the San Francisco Giants. Not to mention, he is the only second baseman to have 100 or more RBIs in six consectuve seasons (1997-2002). In a way, Kent helped redefine his position. Second baggers have historically been known more for their defensive prowess rather than plate presence. And lets not forget, he broke into the Majors with the Toronto Blue Jays, way back when. Way back when being 1992. He should be thought of in a fond light amongst Jays fans, because it was Kent who was traded in a package to the New York Mets in the summer of 1992 in exchange for David Cone, an integral piece in the Jays World Series win that October. Kent's closest encounter with a World Series ring was 2002 with the Giants. They lost to the Angels in 7 games. Everybody should now point their hatred at White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who with both Bonds and Kent seemingly gone from the game, takes over the reign as biggest A-hole in baseball. What do you think? Is Kent a sure bet Hall of Famer?