• Torii Hunter's Legacy

    Does Hunter signing with the Tigers improve his overall legacy, or jeopardize his Twins legacy?
    Back in the 1993 when the Twins drafted a high school outfielder from Arkansas, there was plenty of hope surrounding his future. The greatest player in franchise history, Kirby Puckett, was manning the outfield for the current team and this new athletic young man was in line to be his heir apparent. Puckett's career would be cut short in the coming years but Torii Hunter would lead a revitalization of the Twins franchise in the 2000s.

    Two decades after being drafted, Hunter has found the third team of his career. He left the Twins following the 2007 to continue his career with the Los Angeles Angels. The lure of a large contract and a bigger market was too much to turn down for Hunter at the time. As a 37-year old aging outfielder, he is still getting a big contract but this time he is searching for something more... to cement his legacy.

    Hunter has found his way back to the American League Central. He signed a 2-year, $26 million contract with the Detroit Tigers so he can win the championship for which he has searched his entire career. Like many players approaching the end of their careers, Hunter wants to go out on top. He is coming off of a rejuvenating season with the Angels and Detroit looks to be the place where he continues his title hunt.

    The Tigers are coming off of a berth in the World Series but their club was lacking some offensive punch down the stretch. Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder had very good years in the middle of Detroit's line-up and Austin Jackson has turned into a very good lead-off man. Hunter will most likely slide into the number two spot in the order behind Jackson and in front of Cabrera and Fielder.

    In 2012, Hunter put together one of his best offensive seasons. He finished with a batting average over .300 for the first time in his career and he still managed to put up decent power numbers in the middle of the Angels line-up. His offensive WAR was the highest of his career and he combined that with above average defense in a corner outfield spot.

    Hunter's career offensive numbers continue to pile up as he enters his 17th big league season next year. There are a few offensive milestones he can cross in a Tigers uniform. He is only three home runs away from 300 for his career and he is only 14 hits away from the 2,000 mark. It will be nice for Hunter to reach these milestones in 2013 but the true test of his legacy might be what he can do to add to these totals, as he gets closer to 40 years old.

    Defense will always be the trademark of Hunter's legacy in the major leagues. "Spider-Man," as he became known for his acrobatic feats, will always be remembered by Twins fans for his ability to rob home runs over the blue plastic wall at the Metrodome. Hunter won Gold Gloves from 2001 to 2009, and that number ranks seventh all-time among outfielders. His never-say-die attitude led to more than one injury when he was tracking down fly balls but his highlight reel catches far outweigh the times he ended up hurt.

    Like Puckett before him and other aging outfielders, Hunter has been shifted from centerfield to a corner outfield spot. He might be a little slower but he has plenty of years experience to rely on at this point. He knows the routes to the ball off of the bat and he can still provide solid defense as he finishes out his career.

    The charismatic Hunter will always hold a place in the heart of Twins Territory. Fans might find it a little more difficult to cheer for the outfielder now that he is on a rival AL Central team. He will be trolling the outfield on Opening Day at Target Field for the second year in a row, but alas, it won't be in a Twins uniform.

    His legacy with the Twins doesn't seem to be in jeopardy but a title with Detroit could be the icing on the cake for his overall legacy.
    This article was originally published in blog: Torii Hunter's Legacy started by Cody Christie
    Comments 11 Comments
    1. OldManWinter's Avatar
      OldManWinter -
      He had other priorities. That is his choice. I am personally not enamored.
    1. twinsfaninsaudi's Avatar
      twinsfaninsaudi -
      And this will be the third time he will be playing opening day in Minnesota as a visitor (2008 also). (Sigh) They should have re-signed Torii and kept Garza.

      His signing with Detroit almost makes me want to cheer for them over the Twins.

      Because…I look at the Twins, and there is no individual on the team that I want to win a World Series more than I want it for Torii. But alas, I love that laundry that they wear.
    1. AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS's Avatar
      AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS -
      Quote Originally Posted by twinsfaninsaudi View Post
      And this will be the third time he will be playing opening day in Minnesota as a visitor (2008 also). (Sigh) They should have re-signed Torii and kept Garza.
      Enough crying over spilled milk. Whats done is done.Get over it.
    1. wavedog's Avatar
      wavedog -
      I liked Torii as a Twin and continue to cheer for him even as he moves to the Tigers. He brought some energy to the team that is lacking these days. However, I won't go as far as hoping the Tigers win the World Series or even the division plus I hope he goes hitless against the Twins.
    1. ltwedt's Avatar
      ltwedt -
      Geez - HE left US! Get . . . the hell . . . OVER it!
    1. h2oface's Avatar
      h2oface -
      torii really settled in at the TOP of the lineup - hitting second. i bet that is where he fits for the tigers, too. good luck to the man. he lives up to his contract wherever he goes.
    1. Bark's Lounge's Avatar
      Bark's Lounge -
      I do not care about T-Hunt's Legacy. He will be remembered as a very good player, with his defense being his calling card. Certainly no chance in hell of Torii getting into the HOF.

      I will say this though - Mr. Hunter has an uncanny knack for getting ridiculously overpayed. I do not know if it is good karma from his present life or a past life but whatever the hell it is... it is working... and working very, very well.
    1. twinsfaninsaudi's Avatar
      twinsfaninsaudi -
      Quote Originally Posted by AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by twinsfaninsaudi View Post
      And this will be the third time he will be playing opening day in Minnesota as a visitor (2008 also). (Sigh) They should have re-signed Torii and kept Garza.
      Enough crying over spilled milk. Whats done is done.Get over it.
      I'm over it…also not crying - geez man chill out

      https://www.google.com/search?q=upti...&client=safari
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      I hate the Tigers and I'm a big Torii Hunter Fan... The only choice I have is to pretend he's someone else this year. Can't cheer for a Tiger.
    1. PopRiveter's Avatar
      PopRiveter -
      I love Torii and will cheer his every play even as I root for his team's failure. It would've been nice if he were in Detroit's outfield this year instead of Delmon. I would have had 1 reason to care about the world series.
    1. StormJH1's Avatar
      StormJH1 -
      I liked Torii as a Twin and I still like him on other teams. I felt that he was pretty open in 2007 about the whole process (including a memorable phone interview with Barreiro from the State Fair), and he had the right to play on West Coast in a totally different environment. Given the lofty standard of retiring numbers set by such Twins greats as Kent Hrbek, you could even argue he should have an outside chance of getting his number retired!

      He had a big mouth at times, and said some dumb things about African Americans in baseball, but none of it was ill-willed, and he was also very good with the RBI program and was a positive ambassador for the game. He was certainly one of the more important Twins players in "selling" me on the Twins as my favorite baseball team later in life.
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