Five-time All-Star and nine-time Gold Glove Award winner Torii Hunter has decided to retire after a 19-year career. He confirmed the news to La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune today:
“I’m sad because it’s all I’ve known for half of my life,” Hunter said. “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.”
Hunter turned 40 back in July and batted .240/.293/.409 with 22 home runs and 81 RBI over 139 games this season with the Twins. Of course, he finished his career where he started it. Hunter was a first-round pick of the Twins back in 1993 and spent the first 11 seasons of his career with the team. He made stops with the Angels and Tigers from there before rejoining the Twins last offseason.
Hunter will walk away from the game with a .277/.331/.461 career batting line to go along with 353 home runs, 1,391 RBI, and 195 steals. He went to the postseason eight times, but never got to a World Series. That doesn’t diminish what was a heck of a playing career.