Former Giants outfielder Hunter Pence announces retirement from baseball

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If everything unfolded according to plan, Hunter Pence would be playing the outfield, giving fiery pregame speeches and willing the Giants toward a surprise playoff berth during the 2020 season.

With two days left in the regular season and more than a month after he last wore the Giants uniform, Pence announced he’s retiring from baseball.

“My goal was to go as hard as I could for as long as I could,” Pence wrote in an Instagram post. “I love to play baseball and I cherished every day, every teammate, every victory and every defeat, along with the lessons that came with them. Giving it everything I had was my ultimate goal. Nothing can really prepare you for this part of your career when you have to say: I am retiring from baseball. I’ve given everything I possibly can to the game and it has given back to me tenfold.”

The 37-year-old played parts of 14 seasons in the major leagues including eight with the San Francisco Giants. He finishes his career with a lifetime .279 batting average, 244 home runs, four All-Star nods and two World Series rings.

The most memorable days of Pence’s career came with the Giants, where he earned the nickname “The Reverend” for his remarkable speeches that inspired teammates en route to two World Series titles. Pence joined the club at the 2012 trade deadline in a deal that sent three players to the Philadelphia Phillies and remained with the team through the end of the 2018 season.

After playing in all 162 games during the 2014 championship season, Pence battled injuries and struggled at the plate for the remainder of his tenure with the Giants, which led many to believe he would retire when his contract expired at the end of the 2018 season.

Pence instead went to play winter ball in the Dominican Republic, retooled his swing and signed a minor league deal with his hometown Texas Rangers. His stunning comeback story led him to a 2019 All-Star appearance and convinced the Giants to take another chance on him in free agency over the offseason.

The Giants thought Pence could aid their lineup in a platoon role against left-handed pitchers, but he went 5 for 52 before the club cut him in August. Following the team’s decision, Pence publicly expressed his gratitude for the fan support he received during his time in San Francisco and seemed willing to consider the idea of extending his career next year.

On Saturday, Pence announced he won’t continue playing, but he’ll always have a spot in the hearts of Giants fans who will eventually see him on the team’s Wall of Fame outside Oracle Park.

“To the fans, thank you for your unwavering passion and support no matter where I was,” Pence wrote on Instagram. “The love that you have shown me every step of the way has left a lasting mark on me. You picked me up during the lows, and boy did we celebrate those highs. Your love will always hold a special place in my heart. I look forward to whatever the future may hold for me.”


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