Hunter Pence circled Tuesday’s date on his calendar.
“I’m looking forward to going back to Philadelphia,” Pence said. “I had an incredible experience there. The fans treated me great. They were awesome. So much happened to me while I was there, it was hard to believe I only spent a year there.”
Well, it’s been nearly a year to the day that Ruben Amaro traded Pence to the San Francisco Giants. Pence made the most of the opportunity helping lead San Francisco to its second World Series title in three seasons.
“It was amazing,” Pence said. “It’s the highlight of my career. But the thing is that I really thought I was headed to the World Series with the Phillies when I joined that club.”
Pence was acquired by the Phillies in July of 2011. He was regarded as the final piece for an extraordinary team, which set a club record with 102 wins during an unforgettable regular season.
“I remember winning the division with the Phillies,” Pence said. “It was the first time I was in a celebration like that. I thought that was just the start of it that season.”
But the Phillies won only two games in the postseason as the St. Louis Cardinals shocked Pence and his former teammates by winning the NLDS en route to a 2011 World Series title.
“That team was amazing,” Pence said. “Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Jimmy Rollins and you can go on and on. So many people thought we were going to win it all, but you never know what is going to happen in the playoffs.”
Pence knows that well since the Giants were on the brink of elimination last season, but came back from a 2-0 deficit in the 2012 NLDS to overtake the Reds for a 3-2 series win.
“That just shows you how you never know what’s going to happen,” Pence said. “The key is just getting into the playoffs.”
The odds of the Phillies or Pence’s Giants reaching the postseason are slim. Both teams have underachieved.
“[But] it’s always entertaining when the Phillies play the Giants,” Pence said. “You have some colorful players on both teams. You have some guys that have accomplished a great deal on both teams. It’ll be fun. I’m really looking forward to seeing the Phillies fans again. They were awesome to me.”