Jeff Kent to Officially Retire Today

Future Hall of Famer Jeff Kent, baseball's all-time leading home run hitter as a second baseman, will formally announce his retirement from baseball tomorrow (January 22) at Dodger Stadium.

    Kent spent 17 years in the Major Leagues, tying for 20th on baseball's all-time list with 560 doubles, while ranking 47th with 1,518 RBI and 62nd with 377 home runs. His 351 career home runs as a second baseman are 74 more than Ryne Sandberg. 

Kent played the final four seasons of his career with the Dodgers, batting .291 with 122 doubles, 75 home runs, and 311 RBI. He ranks eighth in club history in batting average (minimum 1,800 AB), while also placing among franchise leaders with 73 home runs as a second baseman (third) and 497 games played at second base (fifth).

While his career numbers are remarkable, the memory that sticks with you is the top of the ninth in Colorado in 2007, On a cool, cloudy day in the waning days September with the Dodgers fighting desperately to overcome the sizzling Rockies who would go on to win the N.L. Championship.

Trailing by four runs in the ninth inning, with two out, Kent hit an ordinary bouncer into the hole between shortstop and second base. Any professional baseball player realizes that it would be a certain out, in fact the final out of the game, and know the game was up.

But not Kent.

He ran as hard as his 39-year-old legs would carry him and dove into first base, a rookie trick at best. But he somehow beat the throw. The Dodgers would go on to close the gap and put the tying run at second base but ultimately lose the game.

Call him unsociable, gruff, prickly or aloof, the sight of a certain Hall of Famer, risking all to beat out a routine ground ball and give his club a small chance to fight back and win the game, will be imprinted on my mind forever.

He demonstrated what he had been attempting to tell the young Dodgers players all season long. This is how you win.

I don't know if his effort was ever acknowledged in the clubhouse or in the Los Angeles papers, but fans in attendance saw at that moment that Jeff Kent would never give his game less than his very best. And that is what a Hall of Famer is all about.

As he finally hangs up his glove and roars off into the night on his motorcycle, he can be satisfied that for 18 years he left everything he had on the field -- and that many of us noticed and appreciated it.

Vaya Con Dios, Combatiente.

Jeff Kent's record as a Dodger:

year	ave   obp  ops   gm   ab    r    h  2b 3b  hr   bi  sb
2005	.289 .377 .889  149  553  100  160  36  0  29  105  18  
2006	.292 .385 .862  115  407   61  119  27  2  14   68   8
2007	.302 .375 .875  136  494   78  149  36  1  20   79  14
2008	.280 .327 .745  121  440   42  123  23  1  12   59  11
 Totals  .291 .367 .846  521 1894  281  551 122  5  75  311  51



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