SAN FRANCISCO The most famous broken bat in Giantsfranchise history sat in Rick Alagnas house in Pleasanton. But the 57-year-oldsoftware engineer knew there was only one way he could feel whole.
Im going to say goodbye to the collectible of all collectibles,said Alagna, still startled at how he came to obtain a venerated piece offranchise lore.
"My son, J.D., said, You know, Dad, you really should givethat bat back to Hunter Pence. I thought, Hey, Im the dad. Ive got to dowhats right.
Really? said Pence, told the bat was on its way. Thatsawesome.
Pence names all his bats and scribbles it on the end cap.This one was called Fryer. It turned the Cardinals into dead birds all right,when he somehow made contact three times as a Joe Kelly fastball cracked thewood where the honey-colored handle met the black barrel. The bat head kissedthe ball twice more, imparting a crazy spin that deked shortstop Pete Kozma fora bases-clearing double in the Giants 9-0 victory.
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Pence also hit his home run in St. Louis with the same bat,so he already considered it a keeper. He was mortified -- along with almosteveryone else in the Giants organization -- when he found out that the club soldthe bat at their From the Clubhouse memorabilia stand in the teams DugoutStore.
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Game-used and authenticated items are put on sale almostimmediately after theyre taken out of play. Its usually run-of-the-millstuff. Whomever cleared the Pence bat to be sold clearly didnt think about itssignificance -- an almost magic relic from the only Game 7 victory in thefranchises 130-year history.
Alagna knew plenty of interesting stuff might come up forauction from the third inning, when the Giants sent 11 men to the plate. He wasstunned when he saw the Pence bat for sale, marked at 400, along with the ballhe hit for the triple-double, for 150.
Items arent auctioned. They are simply priced, and iftheres more than one interested party, they put names in a hat.
I put my name in the hat for the bat with 10 other guys andthey pulled my name out, Alagna said. I went wild. I thought, Well, Ive gotthe bat. Ill try for the ball, too.
There were 15 names in for the ball, and out of 15, theypulled my number. I mean, can you believe it? I thought, What are the odds?Its just insane.
Naturally, Alagna tried to press his luck.
Tuesday morning, I bought Lotto tickets on the way towork, he said, laughing. Well see how that turns out.
Alagna planned to give the Pence bat to his oldest son,Mike, as a Christmas present. A first-time season ticket holder, he saidbaseball has done wonders to bond with his three boys.
Kyle, our youngest, is an As fan, Alagna said. So wedont count him.
But when Pence asked about the bats whereabouts, the Giantsknew they had a problem on their hands. CEO Larry Baer turned sheet-white whentold the bat had been sold. When Alagna saw the coverage it wasgenerating, he called GregMarinec, who manages his season-ticket account, and told him hed like toreturn the bat.
If he wants the ball, he can have that, too, Alagna said. Itsbetter as a matching set, right?
Hell meet Giants vice president Staci Slaughter at the gametoday, and the team is planning on rolling out the red carpet for him. Alagnasaid he wasnt going to make any demands of Pence or the team.
But after all this dies down, Id love to have my boys meetHunter Pence, Alagna said, and Ill drag my wife along too.
People are telling me, You're stupid. You should sell itfor huge money. But you cant do the wrong thing. Youd feel more stupid fordoing that. Where would that money take me?
Does Alagna consider it a magic bat?
Well, I dont know if its magic, but its got mojo, hesaid. Im a little superstitious right now. Maybe itll give them a littlemojo for tonight.