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Jeff Kent

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Jeff Kent

A photo of Jeff Kent.

Jeffrey Franklin Kent (born March 7, 1968 in Bellflower, California) is a Major League Baseball second baseman for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Kent is best known for his play with the San Francisco Giants, where he won the National League Most Valuable Player award in 2000. Kent is considered one of the best offensive second basemen in baseball history and a Baseball Hall of Fame candidate.[1][2] He is also the all-time leader in home runs among second basemen.[1] He drove in 90 or more runs from 1997 to 2005, a streak of run production unprecedented for a second baseman, a position typically known for its defense.[1][2] Kent is a five time all star and his 537 career doubles put him 27th on the all time doubles list.[1][3] Kent is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.[4]

Early careerEdit

Jeff Kent played at Cal prior to being drafted in the 20th round of the 1989 amateur draft by the Toronto Blue Jays. He was noted throughout college for his rigorous work ethic and passion for the game, but also for his rifts with the team manager. While attending Cal, he often earned extra cash by working at a local Home Depot. Prior to attending college, Kent had also had a serious run-in with his Edison High School baseball coach; he was then booted off the team as a result.[citation needed]

After four seasons in the minor leagues, Kent was invited to spring training with the Blue Jays in 1992 and made the opening day roster. He made his debut on April 12 against the Baltimore Orioles and recorded his first career hit (a double) in the 6th inning against Jose Mesa. He hit his first home run on April 14 against New York Yankees pitcher Lee Guetterman. He saw limited at-bats early in the season; however, an injury to starting third baseman Kelly Gruber granted Kent a more regular role in the line-up.

New York Mets and trade to IndiansEdit

Kent was traded on August 29 to the New York Mets along with a player to be named later (Ryan Thompson) for David Cone. It was a deal decried by both Toronto and New York fans. Many Toronto fans felt the club was compromising their future and that Kent had earned the starting job at third base; many New York fans could not bear to see the fan-favorite Cone let go. Kent would later receive a World Series ring by the Blue Jays.

Kent's time with the Mets was marked with some success and some failure. Although he batted well, particularly for a second baseman, the Mets were among the worst teams in the National League. Furthermore, he acquired a very poor reputation in the clubhouse, where he was known for a quick temper and isolationism. During the 1992 season, he started the only game of his career at shortstop in order to allow Willie Randolph to play his final career game at second base.

In a deal made prior to the 1996 trade deadline, the Mets infamously sent Kent and Jose Vizcaino to the Cleveland Indians for Álvaro Espinoza and Carlos Baerga. The following offseason Kent was again traded, this time to the San Francisco Giants. The San Francisco trade was initially very unpopular, as it sent Matt Williams, a longtime Giant and a fan-favorite, to the Indians. Brian Sabean, in his first year as general manager of the Giants, was so widely criticized for the move that he famously defended himself to the media by saying, "I am not an idiot."

Giants yearsEdit

Kent's career took off in San Francisco, starting in 1997. Immediately inserted in the line-up behind superstar Barry Bonds, and with the confidence of manager Dusty Baker, Kent finally rose to his full potential, hitting .250 with 29 HRs and 121 RBIs.[5] He was consistently among the top RBI hitters in the league over his next five seasons with the Giants, amassing 689 RBIs over six years, an unprecedented amount for a second baseman. He also won the 1999 Willie Mac Award for his spirit and leadership.

Kent's contributions were recognized in 2000 (33 HR, 125 RBI, .334 BA, and a .986 fielding percentage)[5] with the National League MVP Award, beating out teammate and perennial MVP candidate Barry Bonds. Despite the fact that Bonds overshadowed Kent in almost every offensive category, it was Kent's clutch hitting in RBI spots (particularly after an intentional walk to Bonds) that won many games for the Giants that year, and ultimately won him the award. The Giants finished first in the NL West at 97-65, but lost to the Mets in the National League Division Series 3-games-to-1.[6]

In 2002, Kent had another stellar year for a second baseman (37 HR, 108 RBI, .313 BA, and a .978 fielding percentage).[5] The combination of Kent and MVP-winner Bonds propelled the Giants to a 95-66 record, good enough for the NL Wild Card. The Giants would beat the Braves in the National League Division Series 3-2, and the Cardinals in the National League Championship Series 4-1. In the World Series for the first time since 1989, the Giants would nearly clinch the championship before falling to the Anaheim Angels.[7]

Despite the team's success that season, Kent's relationship with the Giants had soured. The Giants front office had lost confidence in Kent after an incident during spring training left him with a broken wrist. Kent had initially claimed that the wrist was broken while washing his truck; ensuing media reports indicated that Kent had crashed his motorcycle while performing wheelies and other stunts, in direct violation of his contract.[8]

In addition, growing tension had developed between Kent and Bonds: a midseason shoving match in the Giants dugout was widely reported.[9] The departure of manager Dusty Baker also factored into Kent's eventual decision to leave the Giants. Kent signed a two-year, $19.9 million deal with the Houston Astros, citing his desire to be closer to his family's Texas ranch.

Houston AstrosEdit

On October 2, 2004, Kent hit his 288th home run as a second baseman, surpassing Ryne Sandberg as the all-time home run leader at that position.

In his finest moment as an Astro, Kent hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth in Game 5 of the 2004 National League Championship Series to put Houston ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals 3-2 in the series. However, the Cardinals would win games 6 and 7 in St. Louis to capture the pennant.

Los Angeles DodgersEdit

On December 14, 2004, he signed a $21 million contract for 3 years with his hometown Los Angeles Dodgers.

Kent had a good 2005 season, leading the Dodgers in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging, runs, hits, doubles, home runs and R.B.I.s. with(.289, .377, .512, 100, 160, 36, 29, and 105 respectively) [1] The was the best year by a Dodger second baseman since Jackie Robinson. However, Kent was, again involved in controversy during his first year with the Dodgers in 2005, with him being accused of being a racist by former teammate Milton Bradley [2]

Since his days at Berkeley, he has professed a desire to rejoin the Home Depot family after his career, stating among other things, jokingly, that it was where he learned the value of hard work, and also where he grew his mustache for the first time. [3]

While missing games early on in the 2006 season because of an oblique injury [4] he came back late in the season and helped the Dodgers reach the post season.

He has recently suggested that Major League Baseball submit blood tests in order to test for HGH, and has been one of the more vocal supporters of stronger tests for HGH and other performance-enhancing drugs. After the 2005 season Jeff Kent sign an extension that would take him to the 2008 season and possibly the rest of his career.. [5]

After the Dodgers collapsed down the stretch during the 2007 season Jeff Kent and other older Dodgers openly feuded with the young Dodgers over playing time. [6]

On July 29, 2008, the Los Angeles Times reported that Jeff Kent was currently planning to leave the Dodgers after the 2008 season, most probably retiring to spend more time with his family. However, he has not formally announced his retirement plans. [7]. Jeff Kent officially announced his retirement on Thursday, January 22, 2009, finishing his career with a .290 lifetime batting average, 377 home runs (tied for 62nd with Norm Cash), 560 doubles (tied for 20th with Eddie Murray]], and 1518 rbi's (47th). Statistics are official from advent of NL in 1876.


  • 5-time All-Star (1999-2001, 2004–05)[5]
  • 4-time Silver Slugger (2000-2002, 2005)[5]
  • National League MVP (2000)[10]
  • Finished 6th in National League MVP voting (2002)[11]
  • Finished 8th in National League MVP voting (1997)[12]
  • Finished 9th in National League MVP voting (1998)[13]
  • Finished Top-5 in RBIs (1997, 1998, 2000, 2002)
  • All-time leader in home runs as a second baseman (347 as of 5/2/2007)[5]
  • Only second baseman to have 100 or more RBIs in 6 consecutive seasons (1997-2002)
  • Hit for the cycle (1999)
  • Ranks 84th on MLB Career Slugging Percentage List (.503)
  • Ranks 82nd on MLB Career Total Bases List (3,911)
  • Ranks 35th on MLB Career Doubles List (516)
  • Ranks 71st on MLB Career Home Runs List (354)
  • Ranks 61st on MLB Career RBI List (1,413)
  • Ranks 50th on MLB Career Extra-Base Hits List (915)
  • Ranks 39th on MLB Career Hit By Pitch List (116)
  • Ranks 34th on MLB Career Sacrifice Flies List (96)


See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

Preceded by:
Vladimir Guerrero
Todd Helton
Todd Helton
National League Player of the Month
August 1998
June 2000
June 2002
Succeeded by:
Mark McGwire
Sammy Sosa
Larry Walker
Preceded by:
Chipper Jones
National League Most Valuable Player
Succeeded by:
Barry Bonds
Preceded by:
Tony Eusebio
Houston Astros Longest Hitting Streak
Succeeded by:
Willy Taveras

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