Retired Twins fan-favorite Torii Hunter authored a post on The Players' Tribune on Tuesday in which he casts a wide net from his early days as a professional to being at peace with his career coming to an end.
The first-person piece, entitled 'Started From the Parking Lot,' reads like a lengthy goodbye letter to teammates and fans as the first spring training in nearly 20 years inches closer to starting without him. (Note: Some brief profanity exists).
Over the course of 3,000 words Hunter reflects on:
- The slim beginnings, sleeping in his Geo Prizm parked in the Class AA New Britain stadium parking lot with teammate Armann Brown until they got paychecks. (That was a tough time — a time when I started to lose faith, and I seriously considered quitting baseball.)
- His first call-up, breaking down in tears after Al Newman convinced him it was not a prank. (It was my first time ever in a big league stadium — I’d never even been to a game.)
- Practical jokes - memorable ones from Terry Steinbach (pretending to refuse to exit the game when Hunter was called in as a pinch runner) and David Ortiz (the peanut-butter-in-the-underwear incident)
- The surprising 2002 Twins (We weren’t the most talented team, but we were playing for each other. We were fighting and grinding, but we were having fun, too.)
- Becoming a mentor to Mike Trout in Anaheim (When I’d get to the stadium and walk into the clubhouse, he’d be right there next to my locker, ready to get some info)
Hunter dishes out plenty of "thank-yous" to the likes of Matt Lawton, LaTroy Hawkins, Eddie Guardado, Paul Molitor and Kirby Puckett. He writes of admiring Andre Dawson as a kid, all the way down to the Jehri curl, and says he's done with baseball - for now.
Do give it a read. Any Twins fan, or fan of baseball in general, will appreciate what he has to say.
The Players Tribune, by the way, is Derek Jeter's website. Professional athletes use the platform to express their thoughts in their own words. Hunter is the ninth baseball player to contribute. Kobe Bryant, who also has a stake in the site, has posted five times including his official 'Dear Basketball' retirement announcement.
Larry Fitzgerald Jr. currently has a post on the site as well. Sorry, Vikings fans. Fitzgerald's piece is entitled, 'Ode to Arizona'