Jeff Kent was a career .290 hitter and hit the most home runs ever for a second baseman (377).
Yet he failed to even get 50% of the vote in his final year of Hall of Fame eligibility.
Players need at least 75% to get in, and only Scott Rolen got the required percentage on Tuesday night.
Kent won an MVP with the San Francisco Giants in 2000 and racked up 2,461 hits and 1,518 RBIs, both more than Rolen. Kent also won four Silver Slugger Awards while Rolen earned one.
One could certainly make the argument that Kent should be in, especially with Rolen now getting a plaque in Cooperstown — and Kent is making his case.
“The voting over the years has been too much of a head-scratching embarrassment,” Kent told the San Francisco Chronicle. “Baseball is losing a couple generations of great players that were the best in their era because a couple non-voting stat folks keep comparing those players to players already voted in from generations past and are influencing the votes.”
Rolen’s superb defense did give him the higher career WAR (wins above replacement) — 70.1 to 55.4. He was an eight-time Gold Glove Award winner who hit .281 with an .855 OPS in his 17-year career. Kent failed to win the defensive award.
Advanced analytics have made the voters analyze careers more in-depth than ever before, which helped Rolen’s case and has kept the conversation going for many other players.
In his first year of eligibility, Rolen received 10.2% of the vote, which is the lowest ever for an eventual Hall of Famer. Kent got as low as 14.0% in his second year, yet his 46.5% from yesterday was the most he had ever gotten.
Kent’s only hope is for future committees to vote him in, which has been the avenue of Harold Baines, Gil Hodges and Fred McGriff in recent years.