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The strange tale of Hunter Pence's broken bat has a happy ending

October 25, 2012|By Chuck Schilken

Hunter Pence and his pal, Fryer, have recently been reunited. And, boy, do they have a story to tell all their buddies.

Well, Pence is going to have to do all the talking -- Fryer is a baseball bat.

Just wait, it gets stranger.

The San Francisco right fielder is pretty tight with his bats. Apparently he even names them. And he used the one he dubbed Fryer -- that's the name he inscribed on the tip of the barrel -- in a truly bizarre at-bat in Game 7 of the National League championship series against the St. Louis Cardinals.

With the Giants already up, 2-0, in the bottom of the third, Pence broke the bat while hitting the ball, which then hit the broken end of poor Fryer two more times. The ground ball to center fooled more than one Cardinals fielder and allowed three runners to score for the Giants, who went on to claim a 9-0 victory and advance to the World Series.

But the plot thickens.

When Pence tried to find his ol' buddy later — probably to see how he was doing after such a traumatic experience -- Fryer was nowhere to be found. The Giants had already authenticated both the bat and ball from that crazy play, then sold them during the sixth inning for $400 at the stadium store that sells such items from the games on a nightly basis.

Pence was bummed. "I just want to have it at home and show it to my kids," he said.

Lucky for him the couple who purchased the items -- die-hard Giants fans Rick and Terri Alagna -- are understanding souls.

"We didn't realize how awesome the bat was until we got home and watched the replays," Terri Alagna said. "We were just like, 'Oh, my gosh.' "

They knew Pence would want to keep something like that, so they arranged to give it back to him during Wednesday's Game 1 of the World Series -- which they happened to watch from a luxury suite, courtesy of the Giants. The couple also received another bat autographed by Pence in exchange for Fryer.

The Alagnas realize they could have gotten a lot more for the now-famous bat, but Terri says that's not their style.

"We're really passionate fans," she told the San Francisco Chronicle. "This is our team. Our sons, they're older now. They're in their 20s. They're Eagle Scouts. We're active in the Scouts community, so honesty is a big thing with us."

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