Sunday, August 20, 2017
Still #3 to me
Philadelphia is one of those cities where, if you're a sports player and you give a couple dimes, the city will make sure you never have to pay for a beer the rest of your life. It doesn't take much in Philly. Juan Pierre, Brad Lidge, Ricky Bottalico, Matt Stairs- they're all deified up here because they did very little...and it still meant a great deal to Phillies fans. I mean, there's the flip side, where you can be a Phillie for a decade, then go off to another team and come back to boos for absolutely no reason. So, Donovan McNab, Pat Burrell, Jaromir Jagr...we're still figuring this out.
The epitome of this 'short-lived tenure = lifetime appreciation' thing is Hunter Pence. He spent exactly one calendar year as a Phillie...and in that calendar year, he was one of the most beloved, entertaining guys to have on your team. He did some amazing things in the postseason, he had a great first half in 2012, and even in a month's time, everyone in Philly was wearing Pence shirts. Not just jersey shirts, but the ones with 'Pence-isms'.
And this was the same season I saw kids my age wearing 'Vanimal' shirts...so it was definitely a year for short-tenured fringe Phillies. Remember, this was the tale end of the Ryan Howard dominance era, and Utley, Rollins and Victorino were still huge, so the fact that an outsider could enter into the fold and snag fans THAT QUICKLY...blew people's minds (then again, Yoenis essentially did the same thing in 2015, so it's not unheard of.)
Pence has been playing for San Francisco for 5 years now, he's snagged 2 rings, is mellowing out...and yet, to this day, I still see Pence Philly shirts every once in a while. When Pence retires, I'm guessing that the Phillies is only gonna be a speck on his career, because he won rings with San Fran, he had more good seasons with Houston. I don't think he's a Hall of Famer, but I think people are, at the very least, gonna remember him when he retires.
Also...I'm still collecting any and all Phillies Pence card issues. Somebody's gotta remember his Phillies tenure.
Coming Tomorrow- He came into the league in late July, and ever since he's been powering his team past the competition...including, sadly, my New York Yankees.