A Spiritual Moment with Hunter Pence

This past summer I had the fortunate opportunity to visit San Francisco on the occasion to sing the National Anthem with my brother Tim and Bob Weir at AT&T Park. Although this 48 hour trip from Lexington, KY to the Bay yielded many magical moments, one moment still sits strongly in the forefront of my mind.

After meeting and re-meeting many of the Giants players in the clubhouse, Tim and I got some quiet moments after workouts and batting practice to sit together in the dugout on a perfect summer day. My favorite baseball player Hunter Pence approached us. Now Tim is and always has been the spiritual guru for the baseball teams he’s worked with. Young men who are dealing with newfound wealth and celebrity seek my brother out for advice on how to deal with it. Hunter walked up to Tim to tell him about the books he’d been reading and a girl he just met. This true Giant was 18 inches from my face and began to tell the plot of an existential book he had just finished and how the lasting impression that stuck with him was, of all things, a feather. Then he began to talk about a girl he had just met that seemed different. I immediately knew what he meant because these young men are constantly surrounded by people that want something from them and many times have seemingly irrational demands made of them.

This girl just wanted to talk, and after a few minutes, he noticed that she had a feather on her necklace. 

I don’t know how this story ended, but it stuck with me for the sheer honesty and purity demonstrated by this amazing young man. He was looking for fatherly, spiritual understanding and validation from my big brother, who of course, listened and said something profound that I can’t remember.

To summarize, this Pence kid is the real deal inside and out. He may be America’s most eligible bachelor. That moment made him my favorite ballplayer. Humble, aware, conscientious, and searching. 

That was a great moment.


6 thoughts on “A Spiritual Moment with Hunter Pence

  1. Tom! Hello! I had a far briefer meeting with Hunter when he stayed after the last game of the season to talk with the fans. I just shook hands with him and told him that I was very happy that he had signed with the Giants and he said that he was happy, too. Very small exchange too be sure but you can see in his eyes such a genuine, earnestness. He is very special and I am so glad that the Giants have him.

  2. Thank you for sharing, Tom. Most of us will only see the pumped up, slightly arrogant, grown up little league player with whiskers. We place then on a pedestal, worship them and can’t wait for the moment when we see them walk on to the field to make our afternoons and evenings complete. How nice it is to hear that these young men are REAL, with thoughts and dreams just like the rest of us. We never hear about this part of their life, the hurts, the feelings, the dreams. Again, thank you/

  3. Honey, until just now, I had not read this piece….It is truly beautiful…and I agree with you…Pence is now and has been….since your brother left the field to coach my FAVORITE player…It was through your Aunt Jane….a baseball fan of her beloved Houston Astros….telling me that her heart belonged to Hunter Pence since his first season in Houston. As she told me of his warm, giving personality and his being the fan favorite for her Astros…I soon felt a connection to him….and got to tell him so last Summer when Sam and I met him in the hotel lobby in San Diego where the Giants were playing a series. He appeared happy to meet the 3rd base coach’s Mom and her husband….and he listened as I told him about Jane and her love for him….During those days…when Jane battled cancer….when the Giants/Astros played each other we would turn the game on and get on our phones and watch the game together… Now that she is gone….I still have a tug on my heart when these teams battle…..I miss her…..Hunter was touched by this and gave me a big hug and remarked about Tim’s influence for good on all of the team….I am so proud of you boys and the lives you have touched. Thanks for being wonderful children…..Momma
    And Happy 50th Birthday again…Momma

  4. Like your wife? above I too am just now reading this! Enjoyed it so much as I am a huge Hunter fan! I loved seeing him in Scottsdale the past couple yrs as he is always very sweet to the fans. He is obviously “the real deal”. There’s nothing wrong with being plain old polite! Thanks for writing.

  5. TOM FLANNERY, or Mr. FLANNERY as i knew you as.
    We met a long time ago and your words have replayed in my head all these years.
    (Oh, this has nothing to do with this article)
    “To end up with what you began with.”
    Ive been thinking about this for 25 years now. The words that echo are, you have a gift, dont waste it. Im here saying i wasted it. BUT MAYBE NOT TOO LATE .
    i was in your first class at Aliso Niguel. When the school was still under construction and the equipment still had not arrived. I had idiot friends, crabs in a bucket, and ditched one day when you were taking us someplace awesome. That to me was the decision that set my future. You took me as a freshman and put me in the AP theory class. Do you remember who i am? now more than ever i could use your guidence. Its pretty dire. So if you would please contact me nhilbert30 at gmail dot com or 949 three 944 nine 4 eight
    Thanks for being that awesome person in my life.
    Nick Hilbert

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s