Bonds sees uptick in Hall of Fame voting

Bonds sees uptick in Hall of Fame voting

SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Bonds surged forward while Jeff Kent remained at a virtual standstill, as the pair of former Giants were met with contrasting results in baseball's Hall of Fame balloting announced Wednesday.

Bonds received votes from 238 of 442 tenured members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America who cast votes. His 53.8 percent total represented an increase of 9.5 percent from last year's 44.3, his largest gain in five years of eligibility on the ballot.

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Kent made barely incremental progress. He drew 74 votes to receive 16.7 percent of the total, up from 16.6 last year.

Kent brushed off his essentially unchanged share of the vote.

"I haven't given much thought to the totals for today," said Kent, who added that he spent most of the day working at a sports facility that he's planning to launch later this year in Texas' Hill Country. "I forgot all about it. I knew it was building up to it."

Kent congratulated Jeff Bagwell, whom he played alongside with the Houston Astros from 2003-04, for earning election to the Hall.

"I know he was knocking on the door and he was a good teammate of mine. I'm proud for him," Kent said.

Bagwell, Ivan Rodriguez and Tim Raines were the only three players elected to the Hall of Fame on Wednesday.

Eligible players are limited to 10 years on the Hall ballot. Bonds has five years remaining to Kent's six.

Bonds' ascending fortunes indicate that the suspicions of performance-enhancing drug use that once enveloped him are dissolving. This year marked the third in a row that he has experienced a voting increase. After debuting at 36.2 percent in 2013 and dropping to 34.7 percent the following year, Bonds has gained momentum. He received 36.8 percent in 2015 and 44.3 percent last year to set up this year's near-double-digit increase.

Bonds, the Major Leagues' all-time home run leader with 762, amassed most of his statistical credentials during 15 years with the Giants (1993-2007), including a .312/.477/.666 slash line in 1,976 games. He also won five of his seven National League Most Valuable Player Awards and received 12 of his 14 All-Star team selections with San Francisco.

Kent's support stayed stagnant despite his enviable resume.

Kent hit 351 of his 377 career homers as a second baseman, the highest all-time total at that position. Kent performed for six Major League teams, but excelled most during his six seasons with the Giants (1997-2002), when he posted a slash line of .297/.368/.535 and averaged 29 home runs and 115 RBIs per season. A five-time All-Star, Kent captured the NL Most Valuable Player Award in 2000 with the Giants.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.