No. 21: Jeff Kent
As per Giants franchise tradition, if Jeff Kent becomes enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame, there is no doubt his No. 21 will be hung at Oracle Park.
A career breakdown on Kent was posted not long ago, and his career totals are certainly deserving of the honor of enshrinement. But despite him not seeing as much momentum for making into Cooperstown as teammate Bonds, Kent’s tenure with the Giants makes him deserving of the retirement of his number as well.
While Bonds made history, Kent was indisputably one of the reasons that could happen.
Hitting behind Bonds in the order most games, Kent’s power forced pitchers to attack Bonds more frequently. Otherwise, the intentional walk allowed Kent to hit with at least one runner on base. Kent’s ability to hit for power and find the gaps for doubles, coupled with Bonds’ speed, made for a tandem no pitcher enjoyed facing.
Over six season with the Giants from 1997-2002, Kent slashed .297/.368/.535 with 175 home runs, 689 RBI and 57 stolen bases. He won the NL MVP award in 2000 with the Giants, and his first three appearances in the All-Star game were in a San Francisco uniform. He won the Silver Slugger three times with the Giants as well.
We await to see whether or not Kent makes it into the Hall of Fame — he is in his seventh year of eligibility out of the maximum 10 — but he could very well still be honored by the San Francisco Giants if the BBWAA do not vote him in.
Who do you think will be the next San Francisco Giants player to have his number retired? Let us know in the comments.