Dodgers: Former All-Star Frustrated by Hall of Fame Voting Process

Former Dodgers second baseman calls the Hall of Fame voting a “head-scratching embarrassment” after he failed to be elected in his last year of elibility.

Former Dodgers second baseman Jeff Kent missed out on the Hall of Fame again this year, garnering just 46.5% of the vote in his 10th and final year on the ballot. It was a big jump from the 32.7% he received last year, but it wasn’t nearly enough to earn him enshrinement in the Hall.

Kent, who has more home runs and RBIs as a second baseman than anyone else in history, was never able to gain traction with the voters. In the batter’s box, there’s no question that Kent was a Hall of Famer — he had a better OPS+ than Ryne Sandberg, Roberto Alomar, Craig Biggio, and a handful of other Hall of Fame second basemen. What he didn’t have, though, was defense and baserunning. Sandberg was a much better defensive second baseman and had 250 more stolen bases; Alomar was better than Kent on defense and had 380 more stolen bases; and Biggio was similar to Kent on defense but had 320 more stolen bases.

Stolen bases are valuable, and they were enough to push those three second basemen from borderline (where Kent resides) to the Hall of Fame. Kent sees a bigger issue, though, as he said in a text message reported by Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.

“The voting over the years has been too much of a head-scratching embarrassment,” Kent said via text. “Baseball is losing a couple generations of great players that were the best in their era because a couple non-voting stat folks keep comparing those players to players already voted in from generations past and are influencing the votes. It’s unfair to the best players in their own era and those already voted in, in my opinion.

“Steroids clouded the whole system, too, and with the reduction of eligibility years, to clear the ballot deck, I got caught up in it all, I guess.”

I don’t know that I’m confident enough in anything I’ve ever done that I’d say someone not thinking I was the best ever at it was a “head-scratching embarrassment,” but it takes a certain level of self-confidence to become a professional athlete. Realistically, the only logical way to determine if someone is a Hall of Famer is to compare him to players who have already been voted in.

Kent would not have made the Hall of Fame significantly worse, and there are certainly less deserving players already enshrined. But it’s reasonable that a lot of voters don’t set the bar at “is he better than the worst guy in,” because that’s a race to the bottom. Looking at the group of second basemen already in the Hall of Fame, Kent would be near (but not at) the bottom as far as career quality. For some voters, being better than a few existing Hall of Fame second basemen is enough. For others, being the all-time leader in HR and RBI at the position gives him enough extra credit to put him in. But for more than half of the voters, Kent just didn’t quite clear the line.

It’s not a head-scratcher, and it’s not hard to understand. I’d vote for Kent for the Hall of Fame, but he’s not a no-brainer. He’ll likely get elected by a veterans committee at some point, and it will all be a moot point. But for now, the chip on his shoulder will remain.

Read More 

Back to top button
Generated by Feedzy