In his final year of eligibility, Giants legendary second baseman Jeff Kent once again fell short of the necessary 75% threshold for election into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, receiving 46.5% of the vote from the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
This was Kent's 10th and final year on the ballot, so his Hall of Fame fate will be decided in the future by the Contemporary Baseball Era Players Committee. It is one of the committees created by the Hall of Fame to re-examine the cases of players not inducted by the BBWAA.
Kent's case certainly deserves another look.
While he played for six different clubs over his 17-year career in the Majors, Kent delivered his most prolific stretch during his stint with the Giants. Acquired in a blockbuster trade that sent the popular Matt Williams to Cleveland in 1996, Kent teamed up with Barry Bonds to form the Giants’ most feared power duo since the Willie Mays-Willie McCovey era.
Kent slashed .297/.368/.535 and averaged 29 home runs and 115 RBIs per season over his six years in San Francisco. He earned three straight All-Star nods from 1999-2001 and edged Bonds for the NL MVP Award in 2000, when he slashed .334/.424/.596 with 33 homers, 125 RBIs and 7.2 WAR, all career bests. Kent crushed 351 of his 377 career home runs as a second baseman, making him the all-time leader at the position.
In addition to Kent, former Giants right-hander Matt Cain also did not gain election in his first year on the ballot. Cain received no votes, and players who receive less than 5% are dropped from the ballot.
Cain spent his entire 13-year career with the Giants, going 104-118 with a 3.68 ERA while playing an instrumental role in the club’s three World Series runs in 2010, ‘12 and ‘14. He threw the only perfect game in franchise history in ‘12 and earned three All-Star selections, though he was hampered by injuries toward the end of his career.
Cain matched Jim Davenport (1958-70) for the longest stretch as a Giant among those who played their entire careers in San Francisco. Only Hall of Famer Juan Marichal (446) started more games than Cain (331) in a Giants uniform since the club moved west in 1958.