SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent frequently appeared back to back in the batting order as Giants teammates. When the subject is Hall of Fame voting, however, Bonds has steadily separated himself from Kent in recent seasons. Bonds and Kent again joined forces to lead the Giants' contingent on
SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent frequently appeared back to back in the batting order as Giants teammates. When the subject is Hall of Fame voting, however, Bonds has steadily separated himself from Kent in recent seasons.
Bonds and Kent again joined forces to lead the Giants' contingent on the 2018 Hall of Fame ballot that was released Monday. The momentum surrounding their respective candidacies, however, is vastly different.
• 2018 Hall of Fame ballot
Bonds appears to be surging toward enshrinement by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, befitting his status as baseball's all-time home run leader and a seven-time National League Most Valuable Player. He received votes from 44.3 percent of the electorate in 2016, up from 36.8 percent the year before. Bonds received another bounce in '17 to 53.8 percent. Seventy-five percent of the vote is required for induction.
By contrast, Kent's backing has remained stagnant. The voting percentages he has drawn range from 15.2 in 2014, 14.0 in '15, 16.6 in '16 and 16.7 last year.
Voters apparently have overlooked Kent's prodigious slugging. He hit 351 of his 377 career homers as a second baseman, more than anyone ever to play the position.
Possible reasons for the lukewarm enthusiasm Kent generates among voters include his supposedly ordinary defense -- as opposed to the wizardry of Roberto Alomar, a second baseman who was elected to the Hall on the second ballot in 2011. There's also a perception that Kent has seemed to encounter just a few too many can't-miss candidates each year who siphon off his support.
"I think he belongs in the Hall of Fame," former Giants managing general partner Peter Magowan said. "After World War II, who has a better record than Jeff Kent?"
A newcomer to the ballot with Giants ties is shortstop Omar Vizquel, who spent 2005-08 with San Francisco. Experts believe that Vizquel, who signed with the Giants as a free agent, may have bolstered his Hall of Fame chances by joining San Francisco, which enabled him to showcase his diverse skills for a fresh audience after spending 1989-2004 with Seattle and Cleveland in the American League.
Besides becoming the first Giants shortstop to win a Gold Glove Award for defensive excellence in 2005, Vizquel earned the honor again in '06. He also batted .265 with 67 stolen bases as a Giant. Vizquel broke Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio's Major League record for games played at shortstop while performing for the Giants in May 2008.
Another former Giant who appears on the ballot is first baseman Aubrey Huff, who was a member of San Francisco's World Series-winning teams in 2010 and '12.
Results from this year's balloting are scheduled to be announced on Jan. 24 on MLB Network.
Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.