For the third year in a row, Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy cast what amounts to a protest Hall of Fame ballot, naming just one player.

For the second year in a row, that player was Jeff Kent.

Here’s Shaughnessy’s ballot last year, for reference:

As with pretty much all protest ballots like these, Shaughnessy cites uncertainty over PED usage. Shaughnessy explained his thinking thusly:

Based on stats alone, Bonds is one of the top five players who ever lived and Clemens among the top five pitchers. It’s pretty absurd to have a Hall of Fame that includes Harold Baines but not Bonds, Trevor Hoffman but not Clemens.

Ramirez is probably the best righthanded hitter I’ve ever seen. A-Rod is the greatest shortstop in the history of the position. Sosa hit more than 60 homers in a season three times. Ortiz is the Father Christmas of baseball, won three championships in Boston, and may be the most clutch postseason hitter in history.

And yet here I am voting only for second baseman Jeff Kent. Kent gets this vote because he was dominant at his position in the time he played and there is no whiff of cheating or off-field scandal. Look him up: Among all second basemen, Kent ranks first in homers and third in RBIs — better than Ryne Sandberg or Joe Morgan. He also was National League MVP in 2000. He has a higher WAR than Bobby Doerr.

Fair or unfair, I’ve never voted for anyone who got caught using PEDs or appeared to gain an unfair advantage by juicing.

The best part, though, is his very next line:

Granted, there is no way of knowing who was 100 percent clean and who wasn’t — and that includes Griffey, Rivera, and Jeter.

As Shaughnessy says, every voter makes their own conclusions. Clearly he’s made his. By his own logic, though, it’s more than fair to wonder why, say, Scott Rolen isn’t also deserving. (Rolen’s career numbers compare very favorably to Kent’s, although it’s hard to know which metrics Shaughnessy is valuing more, considering he jumps from citing RBIs to WAR.)

But, hey, if a writer wants to stake his claim that the only player on this ballot deserving of the Hall of Fame is Jeff Kent, whatever. It’s one vote, and it probably won’t matter much in the end regardless. But if you’re going to write off essentially an entire era of the sport from the Hall of Fame for potential PED usage, what’s the point of having a Hall of Fame at all, much less voting for one?

[Boston Globe]

About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a writer and editor for The Comeback, and a contributor at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer.