CINCINNATI -- Cedric Hunter had waited a long time for this. He waited five years and two days, in fact.Hunter hit a solo home run to right field in the fourth inning of Thursday's 10-6 loss to the Reds at Great American Ball Park. It marked Hunter's first big league
CINCINNATI -- Cedric Hunter had waited a long time for this. He waited five years and two days, in fact.
Hunter hit a solo home run to right field in the fourth inning of Thursday's 10-6 loss to the Reds at Great American Ball Park. It marked Hunter's first big league homer and his first big league hit since April 5, 2011. Elias Sports Bureau found the last non-pitcher to go at least five years and two days (1,829 days) between hits was Jason Lane, who went six years, 320 days (Sept. 11, 2007 - July 28, 2014).
"It's crazy," Hunter said. "Because we lost and we got swept, I'm not really cherishing the moment like I wish I could. But it's great to get the first hit out of the way. And for it to be a home run, it's just a blessing."
Hunter said he had 26 family members from Atlanta at Opening Day on Monday, when he went 0-for-4. His father attended Wednesday's game, when he went 0-for-1. Hunter said he had no family members at the series finale.
"I'll probably give [my father] a shout-out text to stay at home next time, watch it on TV," Hunter said, laughing. "But I'm excited for my family to make it out to Cincinnati. For them to drive all the way up here, it means a lot."
But here is what makes Hunter's story more remarkable: He never got the ball from his first big league hit in 2011, when he played for the Padres and got a pinch-hit single against Giants right-hander Guillermo Mota at Petco Park.
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"They threw it in the dugout, told me they were going to do the print on it and everything and I never got it," Hunter said during Spring Training.
The 28-year-old will get the home run ball. A fan threw it back onto the field. A ball boy retrieved it, but before he could toss the ball into the stands, Phillies first-base coach Mickey Morandini got his attention and got it from him. Morandini safely tucked the ball into his back pocket.
Phillies director of team travel and clubhouse services Frank Coppenbarger confirmed the team has the ball.
"That's cool," Hunter said.
So what exactly ran through his mind as he circled the bases?
"Nothing was running through my mind," Hunter said. "I was just in the moment, kind of in awe."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast.