SAN FRANCISCO -- Hunter Pence's pregame speeches helped push the Giants to a World Series title last October. On Friday, the speeches were directed at Pence.

The right fielder won the "Willie Mac" Award, given annually to the most inspirational player on the team, as voted upon by Giants players, coaches, trainers, fans and Willie McCovey, a Hall of Famer.

"This year's winner is one of my favorite players," McCovey said. "He comes to the park, works hard and plays every day. He plays every inning of every game."

Pence, acquired at the trade deadline in July 2012, has made 169 consecutive starts, the second-longest streak in the majors. He has missed just 16 defensive innings this season.

"I have two goals: To go hard and to love every minute of it," Pence said during a short speech. "God, you didn't bless me with grace and very much style. But thank you for giving me heart and a chance."

Pence is on track to become the first Giant to start 162 games. The last Giant to start every game was Alvin Dark, who took the field all 154 times in 1954.

"He's really amazing," manager Bruce Bochy said. "I don't know another player that I've ever had that played every game, and not just played, but played the way he plays with that intensity. He's so popular in the clubhouse. He's a baseball player. He just loves the game. The passion is there, and he doesn't back off."


Advertisement

The busy season has done little to hurt Pence's production. He's hitting .282 with 25 homers and 93 RBIs, and he ranks sixth in the majors with 45 second-half RBIs. Since the All-Star break, Pence is hitting .313.

Pence, 30, was honored during a ceremony that included many past winners, including current teammates Andres Torres, Matt Cain, Ryan Vogelsong and Buster Posey. Pence thanked his teammates for their support.

"It's tough to really quantify how much this means to me in my heart," Pence said. "I've never been one for awards, and it's tough for me to really say thanks. But my heart has never felt better than when my teammates put me up here today. I love every minute with you guys, and I tell you that every day. Buster, I know you don't like it when I say I love you. You think it's soft, but I actually think it's the strongest thing you've got."

For more on the Giants, see Alex Pavlovic's Giants Extra blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/Giants. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/AlexPavlovic.

SATURDAY'S GAME
San Diego (Eric Stults 10-13)
at Giants (Yusmeiro Petit 4-0),
1:05 p.m. CSNBA