clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

CGB Hall of Fame: (7)Jerrott Willard v. (10)Jeff Kent

Our next matchup of the weekend comes out of the Pappy Waldorf region and features hard hitting Jarrott Willard of football fame taking on baseballer Jeff Kent. We'll take a closer look at both of them and then you can cast your vote to decide who moves on. You can take a look at the whole bracket here and voting will end Friday at noon.


(7)Jerrott Willard

Beware of Willard the Golden Bear (via jeffwelshy)

LeonPowe talks up Jerrott's case.

Jerrott Willard was a badass linebacker from 1991-1994 . . .who rocked the half shirt. Willard was the best linebacker we've had since Hardy Nickerson. Maybe Desmond Bishop was more physically gifted and maybe Follett was better at hitting the Qb, but nobody we've had since the mid 80s has been the absolute terror sideline to sideline, in the backfield or back in coverage that Jerrrott Willard was.

He completely dominated the 1994 Alamo Bowl, including a 64 yard interception return for a touchdown. He was everywhere you needed a linebacker to be, covering the tight end, in the backfield hitting the qb, shuffling down the line to nail the running back at the point of attack on a toss play.

The best linebacker I've ever seen at Cal.

Kodiak: Sideline to sideline terror who can play the run as well as drop into coverage.

Fierce hitter, great instincts, and tough guy who played with an almost signature bare midriff.

Would have had a great pro career if not for knee injuries.

From tightwad hill's description of Willard

Jerrott Willard was probably the best tackler I've ever seen wear Blue and Gold. Broadcasters love the cliche of "football instincts." Cliche or no, Willard had those instincts in spades. He exploded through ball carriers and rarely missed a tackle. His angles were as sharp as a geometry major's, and he squeezed the absolute most out of what God gave him. He played sideline to sideline with a non-stop motor that recalls Desmond Bishop of this year's team.

Willard led the Bears in tackles in each of his four seasons and wound up third all-time with 469 career stops, 54 of them for losses. He also had the knack for the big play, which separates him from other Cal defenders with gaudy stats. In his freshman year he blocked a critical punt for a touchdown against Oregon State in a 27-14 victory. In Cal's 37-3 Alamo Bowl victory over Iowa in 1993, he returned an interception 61 yards for a score, and was named Defensive Player of the Game. In countless other situations, we could count on Jerrott to make the critical stop on third down, or to force a turnover.

Though Willard played alongside some outstanding talents in his time at Cal, he was voted Team MVP after both his junior and senior seasons, and he was a two-time All-Pac 10 first team selection at inside linebacker.

(10)Jeff Kent

STANFORD CAL BRAWL-Full of jeff kent/Milano/mcdowell/marquess (via scoobypop5)

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!

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."

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.