pence_thumbnail2A New Game | Baseball like it should be played.

Baseball like it should be played. Hunter Pence is a good reason to root for the Astros By William Hanover

Drayton McClane was very surprised this past fall when a baseball arbitration panel had awarded the Astros’ Hunter Pence a 6.9 million dollar salary to play baseball this season for his Houston Astros. McClane, who is in the process of selling the team he has owned for almost two decades, thought his star player was worth 5.15 million annually. So goes the story of this consistently underrated and eclectic star.

Hunter Pence is Houston’s brightest star athelete and he is probably the only one who doesn’t know it. He looks more like a basketball player and plays baseball in a way few others can. With little or no body fat, at 6’4, 220 lbs, he is built like a well machined athlete. Despite his quirky throwing motion, he was taken in the second round of the amateur draft in 2004 after playing college ball at Texarkana Junior College and UT Arlington. Growing up in Fort Worth under the tutelage of a demanding and supporting father, Hunter Pence decided in high school he was going to “sell out” and do whatever necessary to get to the big leagues.

Astros hitting coach Mike Barnett thinks Pence could hit 30 homers in this season, if he is a bit more selective than his usual hitting style. Pence takes nothing for granted and does not want all his hard work to got to waste. Once, after a game in his rookie season, he took batting practice for an hour. He still is one of the first to arrive and the last ones to leave the park, cherishing every moment. “I love it. I don’t ever take a day for granted,” says Hunter. In 2009 Pence, along with teamate Miguel Tejada, was named to represent the National League in Major League Baseball’s All Star game held in St. Louis’ brand new Busch Stadium. During batting practice prior to the game, Pence launced his patented moon balls into the seats - proving why this National League newcomer was selected. As far as personal achievments, “this is as good as it gets, I really can’t belive it,” says Pence. According to Tejada, who now plays for the world champion San Fransisco Giants, Pence really loves the game of baseball. It shows and Astros fans appreciate him even in their rebuilding year, and with the club for sale Hunter Pence is worth the price of admission.



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