Although ex-Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Hunter Pence has been gone from Philadelphia for a little over nine months, he remains a fan favorite. The fact that he was a member of the Phillies for the grand total of a year and two days makes his impact more astonishing.
From the video of his jubilant arrival at Citizen’s Bank Park in an over-sized SUV to his quiet departure to the West coast to play for the San Francisco Giants, Pence had a reciprocal love affair with the city of Philadelphia.
Pence was always a little ‘off’, never quite fitting the mold others tried to impose on him. Fathers tried to shield their little league sons and daughters from Pence’s on-deck, woodcutting, warm-up swings fearing their children might adopt his methods and be shunned from any further little league play.
Hitting coaches never quite knew what to do with him either. In the end, they left him to what he does best — get base hits. Something the Phillies are in dire need of.
His trade will always be a mystery. If nothing else, Pence played the game as if every one was his last. Philadelphia’s loss was certainly San Francisco’s gain as he played the role of catalyst and motivational speaker for the Giants’ push to the 2012 World Series Championship.
In return for Pence, the Phillies received three players. Only Tommy Joseph is a solid prospect as a catcher for the Phillies. Nate Schierholtz is now playing for the Chicago Cubs, and, Seth Rosin is a pitcher laboring away in Double-A. Grading this trade is relatively easy: D-.
The Phillies are in San Francisco for a three-game series with the Giants. The best part of these games may be watching Pence do his imitation of a windmill gone berserk with arms flailing, legs flying in all directions and the resulting fresh breezes he brings to Giant fans.
Too bad Pence isn’t still bringing chaotic control to the Phillies outfield. The team could use him now.