According to LaVelle Neal of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Torii Hunter of the Twins has decided to retire after 19 seasons. Hunter made five All-Star teams, won nine Gold Gloves, and played nearly 2,400 regular season games and 48 postseason games.
Hunter, 40, slashed .277/.331/.461 with 353 home runs, 110 wRC+, and a 41.6 fWAR with the Minnesota Twins, Los Angeles Angels, and Detroit Tigers. Baseball Reference gives him a 50 WAR and JAWS ranks him as the 31st-best center fielder with little chance of being inducted into the Hall of Fame. There’s no shame going into the Hall of Fame of Very Good, though.
Hunter in Neal’s piece:
I’m sad because it’s all I’ve known for half of my life. This great game of baseball has done so much for me. I have learned a lot of lessons. They say baseball is life and life is baseball, and I used baseball and applied it to my life. So I got through a lot of hardships and a lot of hard times and I learned from them and I made adjustments, which you have to do in the game of baseball as well as the game of life. So baseball taught me a lot. But mentally, I think it’s time. I still love the game, but time has taken a toll on me mentally and physically.
The Twins drafted Hunter 20th overall in 1993 out of high school in Arkansas, and he was with the Twins for over a decade until he signed with the Angels in 2008. After another stop in Detroit for 2013 and 2014, he returned to the team that drafted him for one last season. It was a rough season individually, slashing .240/.293/.409, but the club overachieved, winning 83 games and missing the playoffs by three games.
Hunter said to Neal that he isn’t sure what he will do in the future, but notes business, television commentary, and coaching as some options. Right now, though, he will try to catch his sons’ football games as they are attending Notre Dame and Arkansas State.
We’ll never forget his electrifying catches: