Legends On Deck

The Hall is Calling: Hunter Pence

It has been almost a week since the results of the Hall of Fame votes were announced.  By now you should all know that Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, and Craig Biggio will be gracing the stage in Cooperstown in July unless you live in a cave.  I couldn’t think of a better time to start the conversation about who is playing currently that has a chance themselves to make it to the Hall of Fame.

Sure it is way too early to tell, but based on numbers alone at this point in their career you can probably make a case if all goes the way it has gone.

One player that stands out to me at this point is San Francisco Giants outfielder Hunter Pence.

Pence, 31, has played eight seasons in the major leagues, registering 1,349 hits, with 185 home runs and 689 RBI so far.  He is a guy that I would love to have on my team as a manager because you know what you are going to get.  You can count on him to be in the lineup every single game (played 162 games in each of his last two seasons), and is good for 20+ home runs and 85+ RBI every year.  He has played in 1,218 games out of a possible 1,296 since his debut in late April, 2007.

He finished third in Rookie of the Year voting in 2007 behind Ryan Braun and Troy Tulowitzki, but hasn’t finished any higher than 11th for any other major award.  He does have two World Series rings and four All-Star selections, but doesn’t seem to be getting the recognition he deserves.

Even at this stage in his career, he exemplifies what I feel the Hall of Fame is all about.  He plays the game right with a certain bit of intensity and leaves it all out there.  He seems to be a tremendous low-maintenance teammate that isn’t afraid to lead in the clubhouse and get his uniform dirty.pence

With a little bit of luck and good fortune with health etc…, Pence could potentially reach 3,000 hits.  It isn’t out of the realm of possibility given his career averages so far.  Baseball-Reference.com has him compared to Hall of Famer Tony Perez at his current age and statistics.  Perez played 23 seasons and finished his career with over 2,700 hits.

I may have a little hometown bias in regards to Hunter Pence.  I didn’t grow up in Texas like he did, but I was able to watch him in his first professional season when he played for the Tri-City ValleyCats of the New York-Penn League.

I remember the first game I saw him play.  Here was this lanky awkward looking guy stepping into the batter’s box, and on two separate occasions he launched his bat into the stands.  That was the first time I had witnessed it live so it was something that I know I wasn’t going to forget.  When I got home after the game, I looked him up on the computer and was surprised that he was the Astros top prospect at the time.

He is off to a great start in his career and there are no signs of him slowing down.  If he continues the pace he is on, I can see him giving a speech in Cooperstown on or around 2032.


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John has recently graduated from the University at Albany with a B.A. in History and is currently finishing his Master's Degree there as well in secondary education. After being away from school for over two decades he decided to go back and work towards his dream of becoming a social studies teacher.

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