CGB Hall Of Fame: Russell White (3) v. Jeff Kent (14)

Today, we have another matchup.  RB superstar Russell White versus baseball Hall Of Famer Jeff Kent.  Who will move on to face Ashley Walker who knocked off Tyson Alualu???  Who, indeed?  This is in the Pappy Waldorf Regional.

You can see the entire bracket here.  The poll ends on Friday, May 13, 2011 at noon, so vote over and over again.  GO BEARS!

Pappy Waldorf Regional

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Russell White (3)

The case for Russell is laid out below.

LeonPoweSuperman. One of the 3 best running backs (some would argue the best ever) to play at Cal. Finished in the top 5 in Heisman as a junior. Carried Cal to a #7 National ranking at the end of the 1991 season. Hurdled a Purdue player well before anyone else did it.

 Tightwad Hill elaborates:

Cal's all-time leading rusher was perhaps the biggest recruiting coup in school history. Controversy surrounded White's decision to move from Crespi HS to Berkeley, since he was a Prop 48 student who had not achieved a qualifying SAT score. A summer of tutoring revealed that Russell was dyslexic, and he would go on to earn his degree in social welfare in four years with a B average.

He would also go on to become Cal's all-time leading rusher, behind 1,000 yard efforts in 1991 and 1992. Fifteen times he rushed for at least 100 yards in a game, including a 229-yard effort in Cal's record setting 52-30 beatdown of USC in 1991. With White, the Bears reversed a decade of futility and won back-to-back bowls in 1990 and 1991. His '91 season, with 1,177 yards rushing and fourteen touchdowns earned White first-team All-America honors from the Walter Camp Foundation and the FWAA.

Now thanks to Prd74, we all get to bask in Russell's greatness a little; his freshman campaign in 1990 had some great moments, including a 99 yard kickoff return against Miami in the first video and an utterly insane run starting at 4:24 in the second vid.

 


 


 

 

Jeff Kent (14)

 

norcalnick has more on Kent.

Full Disclosure:  I had never heard of Jeff Kent before he was part of a trade that sent Matt Williams to the Indians and away from the Giants.  In Cal’s baseball media guide there are only a few references to Jeff Kent.  In 1987 he set a Cal record (since broken by Xavier Nady) with the most doubles in a season (25).  Also in 1987, Kent set, and still holds, the Cal record for the most errors in a season (34) by ANY position.  Nothing would indicate a potential Hall of Famer.  What Kent went on to do is have the greatest professional baseball career of any Cal graduate ever.  And there is no debate.  But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. 

In 1996 Kent had 5 undistinguished seasons of baseball under his belt.  He was averaging around 24 HRs per year and hitting about .275.  A solid everyday major leaguer, but hardly a star.  When my 11 year old self heard about the trade, I was none too pleased.  You’re trading away Matt Williams?!  Sure, Matty was getting older, but he jacked 43 bombs in the strike year!  He hit .336 in 1995!  You’re an idiot Sabean! 

[block quotes] Brian Sabean, in his first year as general manager of the Giants, was so widely criticized for the move that he famously defended himself to the media by saying, "I am not an idiot." [end block quotes] 

Jeff Kent proceeded to prove that Brian Sabean wasn’t an idiot (yet, at least) by having perhaps the greatest statistical stretch a 2nd baseman has had in the history of baseball.  In his 6 years as a Giant he averaged 29 home runs and 115 RBIs, he defense improved, he won an MVP and he combined with frenemy Barry Bonds to terrorize National League pitching.  He would finish his career with the most home runs by a 2nd baseman ever. 

Unfortunately Jeff Kent is also a world class jerk.  That he and world class jerk Barry Bonds combined to lead the Giants to so much success from ’97-’02 is all the proof you need that hack writers like Bruce Jenkins don’t know what they’re talking about when they write about how critical "clubhouse chemistry" is for success on the diamond.   

This blog post will give you the quick run down of all of the individuals, teams, groups, cities and ethnicities/sexual orientations that Jeff Kent has angered in some fashion.  Plus he betrayed San Francisco to become a Dodger, which trumps all of the other evil he’s perpetuated.   

But in the end Jeff Kent is a gritty, talented play with career accomplishments that could rank him as perhaps the greatest 2nd baseman in history.  Remember him on the field, and not off it.

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