It didn’t take Hunter Pence long to become one of the more popular Phillies. After scoring the winning run in a game early in his brief Phillies career last season, Pence was asked what he was thinking by Gary Matthews while he was rounding the bases. He said, "Good game, let’s go eat."
Immediate success and that succinct comment put Pence on the Philly sports map.
The long, lanky right fielder with the funky batting stance and high red socks was traded to the San Francisco Giants nearly a year to the day when the Phillies gave up top prospects Jonathan Singleton and Jarred Cosart.
Now, Pence is sporting the orange and black of the Giants as they make a run at the playoffs. However, there are still remnants of Pence in Philly.
Liscio's Bakery, who hired Pence to be the face of an ad campaign, no longer has his mug on adverts in the ballpark. But Pence’s image can still be seen hawking Liscio's rolls on SEPTA buses rolling on city streets. The biggest reminder of Pence’s impact will be on display Tuesday when the Phillies host the Cincinnati Reds. The team is giving away his bobble-head figurine.
Phillies Director of Merchandise Scott Brandreth noted that the club is giving the fans what they want.
"A lot of the fans bought tickets for the bobblehead," Brandreth said. "We thought we might as well make them happy and still give it out. It's a collector's item. And Hunter has been very supportive. He wants us to give it out."
Pence was excited about having his own bobble figurine.
“Who wouldn’t want their own bobblehead?,” Pence said early in the season. “I guess you’ve arrived when you get your own [bobblehead]. It’s cool.”
It would have been cooler if Pence was still with the Phillies, but they fell out of contention in July. It started with a myriad of key injuries, a bullpen that has been as bad as the starting rotation was great last season — and then there was the late-July firesale.
At least with a bobble-head night, the odds of a sellout are excellent. Expect the next standing-room only crowd to be Sep. 23, which is when the Phillies give away a Cole Hamels Action Figurine.
It’s a whole new ballgame for the Phillies.