Matt Cain, Jeff Kent provide Giants ties to 2023 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot

Cain, Kent give Giants ties to 2023 Baseball Hall ballot originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Bonds' time on the National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot is up, but the Giants still are well represented on the 2023 ballot.

Matt Cain was one of 14 recently-retired players to get added to the ballot this year, joining a group of holdovers highlighted by Jeff Kent, who will get his final shot at induction by the baseball writers. Cain won't get in and very likely won't get the five percent needed to stay on the ballot for a second year, but it's still a nice honor for a player who was instrumental in three World Series runs and threw the only perfect game in franchise history.

From a Giants perspective, the focus of the ballot this year will be Kent, who hit 377 homers and holds the all-time mark for home runs by a second baseman but has been unable to gain much traction with voters. Kent has seen a steady climb in nine previous years on the ballot, but at 32.7 percent of the vote in 2022, he remained well short of induction. Players must be listed on 75 percent of ballots to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

There are 28 players on the ballot and it's possible that none end up getting elected. Kent is too far away, and the leading vote getter among returning players is Scott Rolen, who was at 63.2 percent last year. While Rolen needs about 50 votes to get over the hump, he should benefit from a lot of big names -- including Bonds, Roger Clements and David Ortiz -- being cleared out last year.

In addition to Cain, this year's ballot includes newcomers Carlos Beltran, Jayson Werth, Mike Napoli, R.A. Dickey, John Lackey, Francisco Rodriguez, Huston Street and others. Players must be retired for five years to be eligible. While Cain made three All-Star teams and helped lead the Giants to three titles, injuries hampered him at the end of his career and he finished with a 104-118 record and 3.68 ERA in 13 seasons with the Giants.

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Kent, Cain and the others will find out how they fared when results are released in late January. In early December, the Baseball Hall will announce the results of this year's Contemporary Baseball Era ballot, which includes Bonds.

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