Jeff Kent’s time on the BBWAA ballot for the Hall of Fame ended Tuesday when he got just 46.5 percent of the vote in his 10th and final year eligible. He told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, “The voting over the years has been too much of a head-scratching embarrassment.”
Kent hit .290/.356/.500 with 377 home runs and a 123 OPS+ in his 17-year career, the last four seasons of which came with the Dodgers. He won the 2000 National League MVP with the Giants, and his 351 career home runs as a second baseman is 35 more than any other player at the position in baseball history.
But he failed to garner much support on the writers’ ballot, failing to reach even 20 percent in his first six years on the ballot, and never received more than a third of the vote until this year. His 46.5-percent showing on the 2023 ballot fell a whopping 111 votes shy of the 75-percent threshold required for induction.
Kent’s next chance at Cooperstown won’t come before December 2025, which is the next time the Contemporary Baseball Era will consider players for election.
After the 1988 season, a pair of longtime second basemen switched teams, but in free agency rather than trade. Steve Sax, fresh off a World Series win with Los Angeles, signed with the Yankees, and Willie Randolph signed with the Dodgers a little over two weeks later. Over at Pinstripe Alley, Gary Armida looked back at Sax’s time in New York, which included two different contracts and three losing seasons before getting traded to the White Sox. “In all, Steve Sax was one of the best players on the Yankees during their worst time,” Armida wrote.
Russell Carleton at Baseball Prospectus set out to see who are the best scooping first baseman, but came to a different conclusion.