Hunter Pence, longtime major league outfielder, native of the Metroplex, and former Texas Rangers, has announced his retirement from baseball.
Pence, 36, was born in Fort Worth, graduated from Arlington High School and was a second round selection of the Houston Astros out of the University of Texas at Arlington in 2004. He debuted in the majors in 2007, putting up a .322/.360/.539 slash line for the Astros in 108 games, primarily in center field, and finished third in the rookie of the year balloting, behind Ryan Braun and Troy Tulowitzki.
Pence was a fixture in the Astros outfield for the next few seasons, but as the Astros went into tear-it-down mode, they started dealing away their veterans, and that included, in 2011, Pence, who was sent to the Philadelphia Phillies at the trade deadline for Jarrod Cosart, Domingo Santana, Jonathan Singleton and Josh Zeid. A year later, with the Phillies out of the playoff hunt, Philly sent him to San Francisco for Tommy Joseph, Seth Rosin and Nate Schierholtz.
That trade began a six and a half year run for Pence with the Giants, which included a pair of World Series titles, in 2012 and 2014. Pence was a quality contributor for the Giants, as well as a fan favorite, for several years, but after a bad 2018 season, it appeared that he might be done.
Instead, Pence went to winter ball, re-worked his swing, and made the Texas Rangers Opening Day roster in 2019 off of a minor league deal. Pence was good enough in the first half that he made the American League All Star team, but his season ended up being abbreviated due to injuries. Still, Pence put up a .297/.358/.552 slash line in 316 plate appearances for the Rangers.
Pence returned to San Francisco for the 2020 season, but the magic he captured last year eluded him. After putting up a .096/.161/.250 slash line in 56 plate appearances, he was released by the Giants in late August. He didn’t sign with anyone after that, and apparently, decided that it was time to hang ‘em up.
Pence ends his career with a .279/.334/.461 slash line and 30.9 bWAR, which is 78th all time among major league right fielders. He will be remembered as a quality outfielder who was an even better teammate, and a guy beloved by more than one fan base.