On this cold, 6 degree day in Lexington…remember, Spring is near-ish and pitchers and catchers report soon! Here is a re-recap of Daniel Stumpf’s no-hitter to hold you over.
Hunter Pence only spent a total of 80 games in a Legends uniform, but they were all well worth watching. Hunter is arguably one of the most successful players ever to come through Lexington. A member of the Lexington Legends Hall of Fame, Pence played during the 2005 season alongside such players as former Reds pitcher Chad Reineke. In those 80 games, Pence put his name on the Legends all-time single season hitting records list in home runs (2nd, with 25), batting average (2nd, .338), and slugging percentage (1st, .652). Those numbers would eventually land him the Houston Astros Minor League Baseball Player of the Year Award for 2005. Hunter would make his Major League debut with the Astros in April of 2007, leading all National League rookies with 9 triples that season. Two seasons later he would earn a trip representing the Astros in the 2009 MLB All-Star game. From there he would never look back.
Hunter would earn yet another All-Star bid in 2011, only to be traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in July. Spending one year in the city that booed Santa Claus, just like he did in Lexington, Pence again made it well worth it. Instantly becoming a fan favorite, Hunter would finish fourth in the NL in batting average (.314) just behind Ryan Bruan, Matt Kemp, and Jose Reyes. Exactly one year and two days later, the Phillies would trade Hunter to the San Francisco Giants. In what I can only describe as proof of the love and admiration fans had towards Pence, the Phillies would go on with a previously-planned bobblehead promotion featuring Hunter a month after he had been traded. The trade to San Francisco would soon prove to be a blessing to Hunter and his now Giants teammates.
That same season, the Giants would play the Cincinnati Reds in the National League Division Series. Down 0-2, Giants third base coach Tim Flannery noticed Hunter gathering all of his teammates in the dugout just before game 3 in Cincinnati. Flannery quoted Pence, saying he was telling his guys “get in here, everyone get in here … look into each other eyes..now! look into each others eyes, I want one more day with you, it’s the most fun, the best team I have ever been on, and no matter what happens we must not give in, we owe it to each other, play for each other, I need one more day with you guys, I need to see what Ryan Theriot will wear tomorrow, I want to play defense behind Ryan Vogelsong because he’s never been to the playoffs..play for each other not yourself, win each moment, win each inning, it’s all we have left.” The Giants would go on to win three straight against the Reds and move on to the World Seires. They beat the Detroit Tigers in four straight.
Since his pregame speech in the 2012 NLDS, Hunter has earned the nickname “Reverend”. He also earned the the San Francisco Giants “Willie Mac” Award, given to the player that best exemplifies the spirit and leadership that was shown by Willie McCovey throughout his long career. On the day after receiving the award, the Giants signed Hunter to a 5-year, multimillion dollar extension. Since becoming a Giant, Pence has won a World Series and become only the 7th Giants player ever to have 20 homes runs and 20 stolen bases in the same season.
Hunter Pence is a great example of the type of baseball player you can plan on seeing while visiting Whitaker Bank Ballpark. Go Hunter! Go Legends!
By: Russell Abner
I may be late to the party on this one, but it came as a surprise to me when I picked up the ‘Man of Steel’ at a Redbox the other day and saw Clark Kent not wearing his cape, but a Royals t-shirt instead. Am I the only one who thinks this is awesome? I consider Superman to be pretty legendary, and to see “legends” being affiliated with the Royals always makes me happy (see what I did there). Go Legends!
The Legends Ledger would like to wish our readers a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays during this wonderful time of the year! We are less than half way to Opening Day (which I may argue is the 2nd best time of the year after Christmas). Since restarting the blog (which hadn’t had a post since August of 2012), we doubled our one day views record with the “Legends of Lexingon-Josh Anderson” piece, and then doubled that record with our Q&A with new Legends Head Groundskeeper, Jason Boston! MiLB.com featured our blog in their “Fan Spotlight” section, and we were even linked to the official Major League Baseball blog. You can look forward to posts in the very near future on former Legends great and World Series Champion, Hunter Pence and recieve a lesson in Minor League Baseball 101. Until then, Feliz Navidad, próspero año y felicidad!
A little baseball inspiration from “Moneyball” to start your day. Go Legends.
Jason Boston comes to Lexington from just up I-64, where he was an assistant groundskeeper for Cincinnati Reds Triple-A affiliate Louisville Bats. I got the opportunity to sit down with Jason and talk to him about his new job and what it’s like being on the grounds crew!
What got you into groundskeeping?: “I attended Western Kentucky University and studied Turf Management. I originally studied Business Management before realizing it really wasn’t for me. I wanted to wake up doing something I love everyday. I get to do this and work in baseball…it’s truly awesome. Before, I worked with the Bowling Green HotRods and the Bats as an assistant. I’m very excited about this opportunity here with the Legends!”
What is a typical gameday like for you and your crew?: “Our days start at 9 am and end sometime around 11 pm. That’s also depending on whether or not games go into extra-innings. I have a 4-man crew (including myself). It can make for some long days. Getting the field set-up and ready to go, hauling out batting practice equipment, removing tarp. I really love what I do though and enjoy it!”
This upcoming season, we will have new grass on the field. Can you tell us a little more about that? “Before, we had Kentucky Bluegrass. We used KY Bluegrass in Louisville, too. KY Bluegrass can be harsh as far as upkeep goes. It doesn’t withstand some of the seasonal changes that take place during the year, costing more money to keep up. We will see NorthBirdge Bermuda this coming season. Developed at Oklahoma State University, NorthBridge looks and feels great. It has a high tolerance to colder weather and has extreme sod strength.”
Kentucky vs. Louisville is a huge rivalry in any sport. Coming from the “Ville”, which side of the fence do you sit on? Remember, you are currently standing on Lexington soil: (laughs) “I grew up in western Kentucky (Henderson County). Everybody there bleeds Blue! Including myself. I am definitely a Wildcats fan. I’m excited that we actually have a basketball goal next to the locker rooms (the Whitaker Bank-shot Court). I’ll definitely be taking advantage of that!”
Jason brings a lot of energy to Lexington. I was actually ready to learn everything there is about field grass and even pull some tarp during a tropical storm after our conversation! Good luck and welcome to the Legends family, Jason!