Fans will remember his enthusiasm for the game of baseball. Not only that, but they will also remember his many great catches. On some of those catches, he would crash into the wall and you would wonder if he had gotten seriously injured on the play.
After 19 seasons of playing for the Minnesota Twins, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Detroit Tigers, 40-year-old Torii Hunter has finally decided to hang it up.
“I’ve been married to the game 23 years. I put it almost No. 1 in my life. My family kind of second. I made sacrifices for my family. And now it is time to give them more time,” Hunter was quoted in an article on the Star Tribune’s website.
During the previous two off seasons, Hunter had contemplated retiring. When he signed with the Twins last offseason, Hunter knew that this was the last season he would play, but he kept those thoughts to himself. He did not want a farewell tour since he felt it would be a distraction.
It was a good thing that Hunter did not want the distraction. He would help lead the team to an 83-79 record, bringing them within three games of a playoff spot.
At the plate, he batted .240/.293/.409 in 139 games with 22 home runs, 81 RBIs and 67 runs scored. Not only was he providing decent offensive numbers, he played solid defense in the outfield. But more importantly, he changed the attitude in the clubhouse. Part of this involved after game dance parties at home when the Twins got a victory.
Hunter would finish his career with a .277/.331/.461 batting line, 2,452 hits, 353 home runs and 498 doubles. He won nine gold glove awards, all from 2001-2009. He also would make the playoffs eight times, four of which occurred in his first eleven seasons with the Twins. In Twins franchise history: he is sixth with 214 home runs, 13th with 281 doubles, 12th with 792 RBIs and tied for 17th with 739 runs scored.
Hunter does not know what his next step will be. He is going to takes some time off to assess his options. Some of the options he mentioned included coaching, broadcasting or pursuing business interests. He does have two sons that are both playing college football.
Even though Torii Hunter is no longer playing baseball, fans who have witnessed him both as a player and person will forever remember him. He may not be wearing a baseball uniform anymore, but I believe that we will still enjoy his enthusiasm for the game of baseball no matter what he does next.
Image courtesy of: Keith Allison