It would appear that Hunter Pence’s time in San Francisco is nearing an end. The iconic outfielder is 10 games away from becoming a free agent, on the heels of a season where he has posted career lows in nearly every category.
Though he’s spent just half his career with the Giants, Pence would leave as one of the most unique and beloved players ever to don the Orange & Black. In addition to being a key piece on two World Series’ winning teams, Pence’s influence in the clubhouse and as a leader has made an impression on the various teammates and media members who have crossed his path over the years.
On Wednesday, Mike Krukow joined Murph & Mac, and talked glowingly about Pence as a leader after projecting that this season will indeed be his last with the Giants.
“It’s such a big, vague abyss when you start looking into the future of iconic players, because you don’t know,” Krukow began. “With Hunter Pence, he may just say ‘I’ll come back for $1 million bucks, I just want to be back.’ If that’s the case, well, then you consider having him back to be a guy off the bench. But I don’t see a scenario that would present that option.
“I think he is winding down, I think this is his last 10 days as a Giant and I’m going to approach it that way. We’ve talked to him about it, he’s knows what the deal is. You’re no fool when you’ve played the game for as long as he’s played. So he’s just going to enjoy every day he has that he can put that Giants uniform on because he’s loved doing it. And we’ve all loved the fact that he’s been a Giant, and he’s made an unbelievable contribution to this team’s history.”
Krukow then provided a soliloquy after Brian Murphy asked if Pence is one of the great spiritual leaders in Giants history.
“I think he’s one of the number one guys in the history of the game, I mean that’s how spiritual this guy is,” Krukow said. “There’s no phoniness about him. There’s a lot of guys who come in, they have an agenda, but you know you catch them on a down day and you see a different side of them. There is no different side to Hunter Pence. What you see is exactly what you get. That’s how he is in life. He has this unbelievable effervescence about life. His energy is so contagious, and so genuine.
“When you have a new rookie coming into the clubhouse, send him over to Hunter Pence, and Hunter Pence will bring him under his wing and show him the ropes and he’ll show him the way. And doing so, it won’t be just things he says with a smile, it’ll be things that he does. The way that he prepares for a game, the work that he does after a game, and just the outlook of optimism that he has. The darkest hours of these last several years since he joined in 2012, they were always bright through his eyes, and I think that’s a refreshing change because this game beats you down, it’s built on failure. And he just refuses to accept that, and I love that about him, we all do.
“We’ve said how many times on the broadcast, if you’re there with your child, you can look out on the field any given day, and you can say ‘See that guy out there, play the game like him. That’s how you play the game.’ He has never not once busted his butt down to first base, he has never made an excuse for failure. He’s unique, and the fact that you even put me in the same room as that guy I’m flattered and thank you for that.”
Listen to the full interview below. To hear Kruk on Pence, start from the beginning.