Jeff Kent exceeded all expectations. Drafted by the Blue Jays, I remember his debut on April 12th, 1992, against the Baltimore Orioles. I remember how he filled in for an injured Kelly Gruber, and then we used him as trade bait to land David Cone from the New York Mets.
That trade took place on August 29, ending Jeff Kent's career with the Jays at a measly five months. We won the next two World Series, but we completely gave up on a player who would debatably become the 3rd-best offensive third baseman in the history of the game, ahead of Ryne Sandberg and Robbie Alomar and just behind Rogers Hornsby and Joe Morgan.
Yes, he was that good. He's the career home-run leader among second basemen with 351, 74 more than Ryne Sandberg. A five-time All-Star and the 2000 NL MVP, Kent had a .290 career batting average, 377 homers, 1,518 RBIs and a .500 slugging percentage.
Jeff Kent could have been ours, but we were living for he moment back in '92. Instead, we all had to watch his awesome 17 season career from afar. Today, he announced his retirement.
With Sandberg in the Hall of Fame, shouldn't Kent follow? I say yes.