Phillies: Hunter Pence retires from MLB after 14-year career
By Matt Rappa
Former Phillies outfielder Hunter Pence has retired
Former Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Hunter Pence has retired from Major League Baseball.
“Nothing can really prepare you for this part of your career when you have to say: I am retiring from baseball,” Pence said in a social media video post while announcing his decision on Saturday. “[I am] forever thankful and [grateful].”
Pence garnered several accomplishments throughout his 14-year career — most notably, two World Series championships with the San Francisco Giants in 2012 and 2014.
Through 1,707 career games, Pence slugged 324 doubles, 244 home runs, and 942 RBI, while slashing .279/.334/.461. This season, however, in his second stint with the Giants, Pence slashed just .096/.161/.250, including starting the year batting 0-for-23 with seven strikeouts; he finished with 15 strikeouts spanning 56 plate appearances.
Despite the slow start, former Phillies and current Giants manager Gabe Kapler said the Giants would not giving up on Pence — who he called his primary designated hitter a “stud.”
Ultimately, the postseason-hopeful Giants designated the 37-year-old for assignment and later released him in late August.
After two All-Star stints and parts of five seasons with the Houston Astros, the Phillies acquired Pence in late July 2011 in exchange for minor-leaguers Jarred Cosart, Jon Singleton, Josh Zeid, and Domingo Santana. All eventually reached the majors.
Just one year later, following a disappointing 2011 NLDS finish and start to the 2012 season, the Phillies dealt Pence to the Giants in exchange for Tommy Joseph, Seth Rosin, and Nate Schierholtz.
In 155 combined games in red pinstripes during the latter half of 2011 and early half of 2012, Pence slashed .289/.357/.486 with 27 doubles, 28 home runs, and 94 RBI. In five games during the 2011 NLDS against the Cardinals, he notched three runs scored, four singles, four RBI, and two walks spanning 21 plate appearances.
Pence’s next stop, San Francisco, was the pinnacle point in his career. In 2014, not only did he earn his second World Series ring and third of four All-Star nods, he finished in the top-11 in the Most Valuable Player Award race. That year, Pence slashed .277/.332/.4456 with 29 doubles, 10 triples, 20 home runs, 74 RBI, and 52 walks in 162 games played. His best offensive production season, however, was in 2012 with the Phillies and Giants, combining for 24 home runs and 104 RBI.
The 2018 season, Pence’s last in his first stint with the Giants before playing 83 games with the Texas Rangers in 2019, featured lower-than-expected numbers. That year in 97 games, he slashed only .226/.258/.332.
Pence is remembered in Philadelphia for his hustle and iconic “Let’s Go Eat” phrase. He surely had a respectable career; maybe not Hall-of-Fame worthy, but better than average nonetheless.