On one level Dodger fans should forgive and remember the Kent of years ago — the surly, line-drive hitting league MVP (2000), the surly guy who hit three World Series home runs (2002), the surly four time All Star, the guy with more home runs than any second baseman in history.
That Kent is bound for Cooperstown after his announced retirement Thursday.
Except, it’s hard to forget that nobody liked him. Not the equally surly Barry Bonds, not hot tempered Milton Bradley, not the Dodger youngsters coming up the last couple of years. He’s the guy who missed a spring training with the Giants when he said he injured himself falling off truck while washing it (everyone knew it was a motorcycle accident).
Like his bat, Kent was a streaky personality, potentially abrasive at any given moment. Nobody knew what they were going to get off the field, and with that people shied away from him.
On the field, they were going to get hits (not much glove, but you would sacrifice that for the bat). He had a career .290 batting average and hit 377 home runs — not is that more than any other second baseman, it is 74 more than second place Ryne Sandberg. And Sandberg is in the Hall.
More than just a power guy, Kent was a line-drive machine. That is how he accumulated 560 doubles, tied with Eddie Murray for 20th all time on that list.
He should be in the Hall, but the Dodger locker room will be a better place without him this summer.