After two World Series titles and a love affair with the fans like few other players in San Francisco, Hunter Pence is now in Rangers camp just hoping to make the team.
He reunited Saturday with his old team as they squared off in a Spring Training game.
Former Giant Hunter Pence stepped to the plate at Scottsdale Stadium for his first at-bat against the team he helped win two World Series, and to the surprise of no one, was greeted by a standing ovation.
“It’s pretty special and you know it’s very humbling for sure and I’m very grateful for, for my time with the Giants. It’s, it’s always nice to see Giants fans, it feels like we’re family,” Pence said.
The love and appreciation for the 35-year-old right fielder didn’t end in the stands.
The Giants dugout followed soon.
“It’s always fun seeing Hunter,” Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford said. “I kind of expected the reaction from the fans because he’s so loved in San Francisco. So it was nice to be on the field for.”
“You know he’s always going to be one of my favorite players,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “He’s always done anything we asked, and he’s provided leadership here.”
It’s that leadership that the organization will miss most.
“Leadership is a choice. It’s going to be up to us to help replace that because you’re going to miss it, and he’s so positive, he’s helped so many young players,” Bochy said. “So, it’s up to all of us to, you know, to fill it.”
While the Giants look towards their future with some young prospects in the outfield, Pence shifts his focus to making the Rangers 40-man roster. But he will always be grateful for his time as a Giant.
“I’ll always remember it, and I’ll always love San Francisco and the Giants organization is a great organization,” Pence said. “And it’s a gift and a joy to play for them.”