Pence's 'body just ran out' during 2020 season with Giants originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
What are you going to do on your first day of retirement? Sleep in? Leave for a vacation?
Hunter Pence decided to do neither.
The former Giants outfielder spent his first full day as a retired MLB player on a boat in McCovey Cove, hanging out with friends and signing autographs for fans in kayaks, as the team hosted the San Diego Padres inside Oracle Park.
"I've always been a fan as well as a player," Pence said on ESPN's "Now or Never" show this week. "So to go out there and root for those guys -- I was rooting for them the whole time I was gone, and then after I finally got the announcement out that I was retiring, I was pumped to go get in the Cove.
"I had always dreamed of getting to go out there. The fans were so cool, and it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I definitely recommend it to anyone who is one of those baseball enthusiasts who wants to visit every stadium. That's like an experience like none other."
Pence's second tour of duty with the Giants didn't work out at all. An All-Star with the Texas Rangers in 2019, Pence re-signed with San Francisco during the offseason and was expected to provide veteran leadership on a young team. But the 37-year-old hit .096/.161/.250 with two homers and six RBI in 52 at-bats over 17 games, causing the Giants to designate him for assignment on Aug. 23.
After a month out of baseball, Pence decided to retire on Sept. 26 rather than try to latch on with another team.
"Honestly, it was an incredible opportunity to come back with the Giants," Pence told "Now or Never" host Rich Davis. "Last year, 2019, with the Rangers was incredible, the Dominican experience, my body was healthy, I was still feeling strong and I changed the swing. I was super excited about the knowledge and what I learned. And I'm still thankful for that journey.
"But my body just ran out on me. My foot went down on me. Everything just started falling apart. The hip. I couldn't run, couldn't work out. That always was my dream. I was going to go as hard as I could, as long as I could, and I'm so thankful for every day. I had no real expectations other than give it everything I have and win as many championships as I could. The journey was great, and I'm so thankful for as many years as I got to play."
Despite how his two tenures with the Giants ended, Pence is one of the most beloved players from the World Series years.
Knowing Pence's fun-loving personality, he might make it a regular activity to take in a Giants game from McCovey Cove. And maybe, just maybe, you'll bump into him while you're floating in your kayak.