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Torii Hunter

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Torii Kedar Hunter

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[edit] Biographical Information

During pre-game ceremonies at a Minnesota Twins baseball game on July 11, 2004, Todd Heitkamp presents an NWS award to this year's Lightning Safety Awareness sports celebrity, Twins player Torii Hunter.

2001 was considered Torii Hunter's first great season. He hit his second career grand slam on June 6. He also led the Twins in home runs, while ranking second in RBI and slugging percentage. He received his first Gold Glove that year, leading all AL centerfielders in total chances at 478. He tied for the league lead in assists (14) and finished 5th in fielding percentage (.992). He has continued his fielding excellence for the remainder of the 2000s, winning his ninth straight Gold Glove award in 2009. Only one other member of the Minnesota Twins has ever won as many as the 7 he won for them in his career, pitcher Jim Kaat who garnered 12 of his 16 in seasons in which he played in Minnesota.

Outside of baseball, Hunter was largely involved in the community in the Twin Cities, working with organizations like Big Brothers and Big Sisters Of Minneapolis and St. Paul. He was also the spokesman for a lightning safety program through the National Weather Service in 2004.

In 2008, he left the Twins as a free agent and signed with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, to take over centerfield for the previous year's free agent bust, Gary Matthews. He was coming off his best season, having slugged a career-high 28 homers and 107 RBI for the Twins in 2007. He continued his solid hitting for his new team, posting a line of .278/.344/.466 while continuing to play outstanding defense for the Angels. In 2009, he was the team's best overall hitter and won a Silver Slugger Award even though injuries limited him to 119 games. He hit 22 homers and drove in 90 runs while posting a .299 batting average in leading the Angels to another AL West division title.

On May 14, 2012, Hunter took a leave of absence from the Angels after his son, 17-year-old Darius McLinton-Hunter, was arrested in Prosper, TX on charges of sexual assault. He was placed on the restricted list to be given time to deal with this family issue. His son was one of five youngsters arrested on allegations that they were part of a ring that invited young girls to parties and drugged them in order to have sex. All three of Hunter's sons were standout high school football players at the time and were being courted by top college recruiters. The case received prominent nationwide coverage. Hunter returned to the Angels on May 28th, once he was confident that the matter was on its way to being resolved, with the more serious charges against his son having been dropped. A year later, his son would sue his accusers for $40 million in damages for making baseless accusations and ruining his reputation. In spite of the distraction, he played 140 games for the Angels that season, playing right field, during which he hit .313/.365/.451 with 16 homers, 81 runs scored and 92 RBI.

On November 14, 2012, Hunter signed a two-year free agent contract with the Detroit Tigers worth a total of $26 million. He was replaced LF Delmon Young in the starting line-up in 2013. He collected the 2,000th hit of his career of April 9th and his 300th homer on June 16th, connecting against his former team, the Twins, at Target Field.

He is a cousin of Choo Freeman.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • 5-time AL All-Star (2002, 2007, 2009, 2010 & 2013)
  • 9-time AL Gold Glove Winner (2001-2009)
  • 2-time AL Silver Slugger Award Winner (2009 & 2013)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 10 (2001-2004, & 2006-2011)
  • 30-Home Run Seasons: 1 (2006)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 2 (2003 & 2007)

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