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It's easy to write columns on issues when you're decided on that issue, when you want to persuade your reader to see your point, or when there is a clear right or wrong. The hardest issue, in sports, is who should or shouldn't make the Baseball Hall of Fame. It's a place where you have to be truly dominant in order to get in. Great players haven't gotten in who were dominant (Ron Santo, Don Mattingly, and up until this year, Jim Rice). Guys who have great talent, maybe the greatest raw talent the sport has ever seen have slipped somewhere in their careers, and they can't get in (Darryl Strawberry, Shoeless Joe, Pete Rose, Doc Gooden, Albert Belle, Mark McGwire... this list can go on and on). Jeff Kent retired, and by the end of this article, I don't know whether or not I'll believe he should be in the Hall of Fame. I just have to do an old fashioned pro and con list, and figure this out.
All-Time Leader in Home Runs by a Second Basemen
560 Doubles (7 more than Tony Gwynn)
The chance of Milton Bradley introducing Jeff Kent at the HOF induction ceremony, reminding everybody that "He doesn't know how to deal with African-American people"
Solid fielder, but no gold gloves
Converted Third Basemen
Coveted Player, yes, but his trade value netted the likes of a washed up Carlos Baerga, a declining Matt Williams, and other obscure players (I guess a pro was he was pretty much traded for David Cone straight up before he made his mark in the majors)
Hit behind Barry Bonds, who was on base all the time
Was only a 5 time all-star, and a 4 Time Silver Slugger
Wasn't the best second baseman in the majors for just about all of his career (Roberto Alomar}
Topped 100 Runs only three times in his career
Played in an era where power stats were inflated
I came up with more cons, but now I know that he isn't a first balloter. I think he will have to wait, but he should probably get honored for his longevity, and the fact that he wasn't a slouch at second base, while putting up stellar numbers. My final verdict is that he should be in the hall, but not right away. Besides, who wants to hear a HOF speech where he thanks himself, and nobody else?