LOS ANGELES, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- Veteran Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Jeff Kent announced his retirement Thursday after a 17-year Major League Baseball career.
Kent, 40, was the National League MVP in 2000 while playing with the San Francisco Giants, and is generally regarded as baseball's best-ever offensive second baseman. His 351 home runs hit as a second baseman are 74 more than the next-closest second baseman, former Chicago Cubs great and hall of famer Ryne Sandberg.
"About 20 years ago, I started as a college player, probably a guy who was a fringe player," an emotional Kent told reporters at a news conference at Dodger Stadium. "If you're not the biggest guy, even if you're not the smartest guy, you can still play this game."
Kent, who generally did not show emotion either on the field or in the clubhouse, fought back tears as he announced his retirement, mlb.com said.
"I didn't expect to be so emotional right now, because I played the game with a business-like attitude," he said. "But I think it's just a testament that, deep down, I'm emotionally attached to the game."
Kent posted a career batting average of .290, along with 1,515 RBI, 560 doubles and a .500 slugging percentage. He scored 100 runs or more in eight seasons, also a record for second basemen.
"We close a great chapter today on a great baseball player," said Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti.
Kent was a five-time all-star and won the Silver Slugger award four times.