Former second baseman Jeff Kent has been up for Hall of Fame consideration for a decade, with this year marking his last crack at induction via the Baseball Writers Association of America. Kent received 46.5% of the the vote during this cycle, well shy of the 75% needed for induction. He falls off the ballot and will no longer be considered by the BBWAA.
Kent hovered in the 25-50% vote share range for his final four seasons. He never seemed in danger of falling below the 5% threshold that cuts players from the ballot early but also didn’t get the kind of late momentum needed to vault him within striking range of induction. If he’s to be enshrined in Cooperstown, that’ll now have to come via the Era Committee. The Contemporary Baseball Era Players Committee met this winter — enshrining Fred McGriff in the process — meaning the earliest Kent will be under consideration again is the 2025-26 offseason.
A right-handed hitter, Kent was one of the game’s better power bats over his 17-year MLB career. He played just under 2300 games for six different clubs, with his best seasons coming as a member of the Giants. Kent hit .297/.368/.535 during a six-year stretch in San Francisco spanning 1997-2002. He received MVP votes in five of those campaigns and won the award in 2000 thanks to a massive .334/.424/.596 showing with 33 longballs.
Kent finished his career with a .290/.356/.500 line in more than 9500 plate appearances. His 377 career homers are the most by any primary second baseman, while he collected 2461 hits, drove in 1518 runs and scored 1320 times. He was a five-time All-Star and secured four Silver Slugger awards while winning the aforementioned MVP. Strong as his offensive contributions were, Kent faced plenty of questions about his glove at the keystone. Those defensive concerns dissuaded enough voters to keep him from induction.
While Kent was the only player to “age” off the ballot this year, a number of first-time candidates unsurprisingly dropped out after not reaching the 5% threshold to last another season. Bronson Arroyo, R.A. Dickey, John Lackey, Mike Napoli, Huston Street, Matt Cain, Jacoby Ellsbury, Andre Ethier, J.J. Hardy, Jhonny Peralta, Jered Weaver and Jayson Werth each fall out of future consideration.
Among first-time candidates, just two topped the 5% mark to remain on the ballot for at least another year. Carlos Beltrán debuted at 46.5% and would seem to have a solid chance at induction at some point down the line. Francisco Rodríguez has a more uphill battle after starting off at 10.8% of the vote.