Former Giants 2B Kent makes Hall of Fame case for playing 'the right way'

Former Giants 2B Kent makes Hall of Fame case for playing 'the right way'

Jeff Kent is in his fourth year of eligibility for the Hall of Fame. In years past, Kent hasn't come close to the 75 percent of votes needed for enshrinement into Cooperstown.

After becoming eligible for the Hall in 2014, Kent received 15.2 percent of the vote. That number fell to 14 percent in 2015 before rising up to 16.6 in 2016. What makes Kent a Hall of Fame player for his 17-year career in his own eyes?

"I loved the game. I played the game the way it was supposed to be played. I played it with honor, respect and I played it the right way," Kent told MLB.com.

Over his big-league career, Kent hit .290/.356/.500 with 377 home runs -- the most ever by a second baseman. His best days came in San Francisco, in which he slashed .297/.368/.535 and bashed 175 home runs in six years. 

To his former manager in San Francisco, Dusty Baker, the numbers speak for themself. 

"It's what you see is what you get when you talk about Jeff Kent," said Baker, now manager for the Nationals. "There is nothing phony about him. I enjoyed having him on the team. He played hard for me. Jeff Kent, he is the man."

Kent is baffled by his lack of votes. As a baseball traditionalist, he looks away from the analytical numbers that new-aged voters are beginning to use for the Hall. 

"I don't know why [the vote total isn't higher]. I don't get it. They come up with these WAR numbers, which I don't understand and they never had before," said Kent. "It gets me to scratching my head. I don't know."

The WAR (Wins Above Replacement) that Kent speaks of places him 19th all-time in MLB history among second basemen at 55.2, according to Baseball Reference. Kent's WAR is above nine Hall of Fame second basemen and behind 12.

In San Francisco, Kent formed one of the best power-hitting duos in the game with Barry Bonds. The two played six seasons together for the Giants (1997-2002), combining for 454 home runs and three National League MVP awards. Kent took home the 2000 NL MVP, edging Bonds who finished in second place, after hitting .334/.424/.596 with 33 home runs and 125 RBI. 

If it's not his numbers that are leaving Kent out of Cooperstown, is it his rocky relationship he formed with the media?

"Yes, I was a [smart alec] now and then, but if you looked at a lot of media that talked to me, there are plenty of people who said if you wanted a good honest source, you go to Jeff Kent. If you wanted a [dishonest] answer, go to somebody else," Kent said. "But you better watch out for Jeff Kent though. If he is having a bad day, he may not want to talk to you, and that was right because I took the game seriously.

"I really love the game. I cared about the game. I kept the game close to me, and a lot of the media wanted to get close to me. I kind of pushed them away. I really didn't want to talk to the media sometimes. So did that build up to a frictional relationship? Probably."

The 2017 Hall of Fame class will be announced on January 18.

Giants lineup: Nunez in right field against Padres

Giants lineup: Nunez in right field against Padres

PROGRAMMING ALERT: Padres-Giants coverage begins at 5pm with Pregame Live on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming right here.

With the Giants shuffling players around, Eduardo Nunez finds himself manning right field Saturday evening against the Padres.

San Diego Padres:
1. Manuel Margot (R) CF
2. Cory Spangenberg (L) LF
3. Wil Myers (R) 1B
4. Yangervis Solarte (S) 2B
5. Ryan Schimpf (L) 3B
6. Hunter Renfroe (R) RF
7. Austin Hedges (R) C
8. Erick Aybar (S) SS
9. Jhoulys Chacin (R) P

San Francisco Giants:
1. Joe Panik (L) 2B
2. Brandon Belt (L) LF
3. Buster Posey (R) C
4. Michael Morse (R) 1B
5. Christian Arroyo (R) SS
6. Conor Gillaspie (L) 3B
7. Eduardo Nunez (R) RF
8. Drew Stubbs (R) CF
9. Matt Cain (R) P

 

Giants move Crawford from bereavement list to 10-day DL

Giants move Crawford from bereavement list to 10-day DL

Brandon Crawford, who was already on the bereavement list, has been placed on the 10-day DL by the Giants on Saturday.

Crawford has already served three of the 10 days due to his stint on the bereavement list. The Giants' shortstop is dealing with a right groin strain.

In 21 games this season, Crawford is hitting .263/.284/.434 with two home runs. He won his second Gold Glove last season. 

Rookie Christian Arroyo is taking his place at shortstop on Saturday.