The forgotten Iron Man
Dodger second baseman Jeff Kent will retire today from the game of baseball. He will give a speech at approximately 11:30AM from Dodger Stadium. Almost no one will be listening. Virtually no one here on campus at Hollywood High School, a known baseball school, nor radio announcers salivating over Kobe Bryant's dislocated finger are discussing the retirement. This says all you need to know about the sorry state of our society. He will retire with a .290 career batting average, 377 home runs, 1,518 RBIs and a .500 slugging percentage. His 351 home runs hit as a second baseman are 74 more than the next closest second baseman, Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg. In his last four seasons he hit .291 with 75 home runs for the Dodgers. He will also retire not having garnered the ring he so longed for.
The 2000 National League MVP, Kent was a five-time All-Star and four-time Silver Slugger. He drove in more than 100 runs eight times (a record at the position), scored at least 100 runs three times and had at least 20 home runs 12 times. In 2008 he passed Ralph Kiner, Gil Hodges and Carlton Fisk on the all-time home-run list and passed Billy Williams, Dave Parker and Mickey Mantle on the all-time RBIs list. He's tied with Eddie Murray for 20th on the all-time doubles list with 560.
His numbers the last four years are second only to Jackie Robinson as a Dodger over that same time period. Whether this first ballot hall of famer goes in as a Dodger is anyone's guess. I suspect he will go in as a Giant. And so he should.
Another old school baseball player rides off into the sunset leaving us with questions about what kind of player will replace him. I have confidence in Blake Dewitt as a young man of character to fill his shoes nicely. But the numbers...OH the numbers.