While we are on the subject of defense, we have to talk about former Twins center fielder Torii Hunter. While the former 2000s star won’t be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, his late-career surge to go along with his highlight-reel defense makes him an interesting study as his time in the majors comes more into perspective.
Hunter’s career didn’t get off to the greatest start, but the light bulb truly came on with the Twins during the 2002 season. After the Twins were nominated for contraction the previous winter, Hunter became one of the leaders on the team, making his first All-Star appearance (which you may have heard about) and leading Minnesota to its first playoff appearance (and series victory) since 1991.
As time went on, Hunter continued to get better at the plate. When it was all said and done, Hunter had racked up 2,452 career hits (.277 average), 353 HR, 1,391 RBI and swiped 195 stolen bases during his 19-year career that included stops in Los Angeles and Detroit.
Oh, and his defense? Hunter became a nine-time Gold Glove winner thanks to amazing catches in center field that didn’t even seem possible. While he didn’t have the speed of Byron Buxton, he always found the baseball and came up with some of the most spectacular catches in Twins history.
It may be a long shot to see Hunter get into the Hall of Fame, but his overall resume is a tough one to ignore.