Jim Rice was voted into the Hall of Fame in 2009, which was his last year of eligibility. It was the fifteenth time that the Baseball Writer’s Association of America (BBWAA) evaluated his career. Jim Rice retired with a 298 batting average, a .352 on base average, and a .502 slugging average. He hit 382 home runs, had 1,451 RBIs, and made the Hall of Fame primarily as a hitter, since he was no more than adequate in the outfield.
Jeff Kent is a Certain Hall of Famer
Jeff Kent recently announced his retirement. The general consensus is that Jeff Kent is a certain Hall of Famer, which is stark contrast to Jim Rice’s situation.. Jeff Kent’s offensive production is eerily similar to Jim Rice’s. Kent finished with a .290 batting average, a .356 on base average, and a .500 slugging average. He hit 377 home runs, had 1,518 RBIs, and, like Rice, will make the Hall of Fame primarily has a hitter. The fact that Kent, who was no more than adequate defensively, played most of his career as a second baseman, is a tremendous advantage. Kent will not have to wait fifteen years after retirement to become a Hall of Famer.
Many Great Outfielders But Not Many Great Second Basemen
There have been many great outfielders, and while the Hall of Fame separates them into left fielders, center fielders, and right fielders, many played more than one outfield position. The greatest offensive outfielders include Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Ted Williams, Stan Musial, Joe DiMaggio, Henry Aaron, Barry Bonds, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Tris Speaker, Roberto Clemente, Frank Robinson, and Tony Gwynn, and there are many, many others.
But there has been only a handful of great hitting second baseman. Rogers Hornsby, Joe Morgan, Rod Carew, Eddie Collins, Charlie Gehringer, Nap Lajoie, and Jackie Robinson comprise the list. One can argue about Frankie Frisch, Ryne Sandberg, and Red Schoendienst, but they clearly were a notch below the others offensively. Bill Mazeroski and Johnny Evers are questionable Hall of Famers at best.
Jeff Kent Traded for David Cone
Jeff Kent came up with the Toronto Blue Jays in 1992. He was traded on August 27 of that season to the Mets in exchange for David Cone. The Mets also received the services of outfielder Ryan Thompson. At the time of the trade, Kent was hitting .240 as Toronto’s third baseman. The twenty nine-year-old Cone was considered one of the game’s best pitchers.
David Cone had been 20-3 in 1988, struck out 19 Phillies in the last game of the 1991 season, struck out at least 10 batters 33 times in his six Mets’ seasons, and was the ace of the New York staff. Cone helped Toronto win the 1992 World Series, but he became a free agent at the end of the season, and signed with Kansas City. David Cone became a free agent again in 1995, signed with Yankees, and helped them win four World Championships.
Jeff Kent’s Career Turning Point
Jeff Kent’s career turning point occurred when he joined the Giants for the 1997 season. Kent won the MVP award in 2000, when he batted .334 with 33 home runs and 125 RBIs. He hit 3 home runs and slugged .621 in a losing cause in the 2002 World Series, which was the season in which he hit a career high 37 home runs. If Jeff Kent had been an outfielder, he would be considered a border line Hall of Famer, but was a second baseman, and should be elected easily.
By JOE SEXTON (1992, August 28). Cone Is Dealt To Toronto For 2 Players :Mets Decide Their Ace Isn’t in the Cards. New York Times (1857-Current file),p. B9. Retrieved January 26, 2009, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 – 2005) database. (Document ID: 116253400).
Jeff Kent at Baseball-Reference
Jeff Kent Biography