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Backflips and an aligned soul: Hunter Pence shares great story of why he’s No. 8

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The first time Hunter Pence got No. 8, it was because he could do backflips. When he received that number as part of the Giants, he probably wanted to do backflips.

The popular Giants outfielder revealed the origins of the number on the back of his jersey as part of a Wednesday Zoom call in the team’s “Chalk Talk @ Home” series. A young fan asked his favorite number, and Pence launched into a story.

The first time he got to pick his number, he wanted 7, which was his brother’s favorite. Seven was taken. Pence’s father thought quickly.

“You can do backflips, right?” Pence remembered his father asking him. “Why don’t you be No. 8 so you can see it right-side up and upside-down?”

Pence was on board, and thus 8 became his number. But through seasons in Houston and Philadelphia, the backflip number was never available. He didn’t get a chance to wear his childhood digit at the big-league level until the 2012 trade that sent him to San Francisco.

While on the plane that was bringing him to his new team, the Giants asked if he wanted No. 1.

“Is 8 possibly available?” Pence asked, and he got a positive reply.

“The fact I got No. 8 on a big-league team with such a history as the Giants, in a race, it just felt like my soul was aligned. And it was really special.”


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