2000 National League MVP Jeff Kent is speaking out against Baseball Hall of Fame voting after he failed to make it to Cooperstown in his 10th and final year on the writer’s ballot.
“The voting over the years has been too much of a head-scratching embarrassment,” Kent told the San Francisco Chronicle on Tuesday, after the Baseball Writers’ Association of America voted Scott Rolen into the Hall of Fame Class of 2023.
Kent — who is considered one of the greatest power-hitting second basemen in the league’s history — received 181 votes and garnered 46.5% of the votes, short of the 75% required for induction.
“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,” Kent added. “It’s unfair to the best players in their own era and those already voted in, in my opinion.”
Although this was Kent’s final year on the writer’s ballot, he can still make it into the Hall of Fame. He’s eligible to be on the Contemporary Game Era Committee ballot for 2026.
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WHY JEFF KENT BELONGS IN THE HALL: Jeff Kent hit more home runs than any second baseman in history
Kent’s 17-year career in the MLB included five All-Star appearances, four Silver Sluggers and a National League MVP award. He played for the Toronto Blue Jays, New York Mets, Cleveland Indians, Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers, but his career didn’t take off until he was traded after the 1996 season to the San Francisco Giants.
In 2000, he was named the National League MVP over teammate Barry Bonds. Kent, who along with Bonds led the Giants to the NL West title, was the first second baseman to win the award since the Cubs’ Ryne Sandberg in 1984. He hit .334 with 33 homers and 125 RBI that season.
Kent, a career .290 hitter, holds the all-time record for most home runs by a second baseman with 351 (out of 377). That’s more than Hall of Famers Ryne Sandberg (277), Joe Morgan (266) and Rogers Hornsby (265).
Kent also topped 20 home runs and 100 RBI in eight different seasons. Among second basemen, Hornsby accomplished that feat just five times while no other players did it more than four times.
Kent finished his career with 2,461 hits and 1,518 RBI.
Contributing: Scott Boeck