San Francisco Giants: Jeff Kent, Barry Bonds, and Omar Vizquel Fall Short of Hall of Fame Vote
By Jeff Young
Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay, Mike Mussina, and Edgar Martinez will join Lee Smith and Harold Baines as the 2019 Hall of Fame inductees. No former San Francisco Giants player received enough of the vote for enshrinement.
Despite no former Giants player receiving the necessary votes to be inducted in to the Hall of Fame, Smith has been a pitching instructor with the organization for nearly 2 decades.
More to the point, Barry Bonds, Jeff Kent, and Omar Vizquel did not see their respective vote totals gain significant momentum:
This is especially problematic for Bonds as he has 3 years remaining on the Ballot. Kent’s support continues to sputter. However, Vizquel saw a modest increase in his vote total.
The criticism against Bonds is obvious. His past connections to performance-enhancing drugs is too much for some voters. Additionally, Bonds did not endear himself to some voters, so the lack of support in some circles is not necessarily surprising.
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There is some good news for Bonds, and many others on the ballot. Next year’s ballot only includes one player who may be considered a lock for Hall of Fame induction in Derek Jeter.
Ultimately, 2020 will be an important year for Bonds and Roger Clemens. They may not get elected next year, but if their vote percentages increase by a several basis points, then they may be elected before the end of their time on the ballot.
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Unlike Bonds, Kent’s support is not seeing large spikes year after year. It seems highly unlikely he will get elected by the BBWAA voters. The hope remains that the Veterans Committee will see his candidacy differently as the committee did for Jack Morris, Alan Trammell, Smith, and Baines in recent years.
Kent, of course, has some of the best offensive stats of any second basemen in major league history. In addition to this, he holds the record for most home runs for anyone at the position.
Evidently, his limited defensive ability is holding down his vote. Also, he was never regarded as one of the best players of his era, but rather he consistently produced great numbers over the course of his 17 year career.
Lastly, Vizquel is seeing robust support from the writers. He received 43% of the vote this yeah, which is a modest 5% increase from last year. He is only in his second year of eligibility.
Vizquel spent 4 seasons with the San Francisco Giants, and collected 2 Gold Gloves during his tenure. Obviously, Vizquel’s claim to fame is his glove. But, don’t take my word for it. He earned 11 Gold Gloves as a shortstop to prove that point.
Surprisingly, Vizquel collected 2,877 career hits. He was never known for his bat, and only posted a career 82 OPS+.
On a related note, Miguel Tejada was on the ballot for the first time, but failed to collect the 5% needed to remain on the ballot. He was with the Giants for a few months in 2011, but it was a forgettable few months.
The Hall of Fame results as they pertain to former Giants players were not too encouraging.
However, the ballot is beginning to thin out, and 2020 election will be an important year for Bonds, Kent, and Vizquel. They may not be elected to the Hall of Fame next year, but these results should serve as a sign for whether they may eventually be enshrined.