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By Spike Eskin

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – When the Phillies signed Jim Thome before the season, it brought back memories for Phillies fans. Thome was the free-agent signing that helped launch the current era of Phillies baseball. For Hunter Pence, it brought back memories from many more years ago.

“I loved the Cleveland Indians when I was a kid. They had Kenny Lofton and Jim Thome and David Justice. They had Manny Ramirez. They were really good. They were an exciting team to watch,” Pence said in an interview with 94WIP’s Angelo Cataldi and The Morning Team on Thursday. “It’s definitely awesome, I told him.”

Pence went from idolizing Thome, to being able to share in a pre-game ritual. “He does the whole ‘light the cork on fire’ old school eye-black. Every time I put it on, I’m like, ‘I’m one of the Cleveland Indians!’ Back in the day with Jim Thome. It’s awesome. I’m like, ‘this is the war paint.’ We brought it to the Phillies, so it’s a lot of fun,” he said.

When Pence joined the Phillies in the middle of the 2011 season, his upbeat attitude was hard to ignore. His excitement to be part of the Philles organization hasn’t changed. “It’s like fantasy land, it’s crazy. It’s an incredible place to be playing baseball right now,” he said.

Pence made it clear that he’s here to hit, and says his unconventional style is an advantage. “I don’t think it makes it hard on me. It makes it hard on them. How do you evaluate this?”

Listen to the entire interview with Hunter Pence:

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