Torii Hunter, five-time All-Star and nine-time Gold Glove winner, retiring

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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

MINNEAPOLIS -- Torii Hunter's Minnesota reunion went about as well as could've been expected -- for both sides.

That's the way Hunter decided to cap his career too, with the last of 19 major league seasons.

TheTwinsconfirmed Monday night that Hunter will retire. He told the Star Tribune he began the year believing this would be his last in baseball, and he wants to focus on his family, with twoof his sons playing college football.

Hunter posted a collage of photos on Instagram in an announcement of his retirement.

"I didn't want a going-away tour," Hunter told the newspaper. "I didn't want to be a distraction."

Even so, Hunter was often in the spotlight this season. He finished with a .240 batting average, 22 home runs and 81 RBIs in 139 games.

Although his .702 OPS was his lowest since his rookie year in 1999, Hunter played a capable right field, despite lacking the range of his youth, and he played a significant role in a resurgence that kept the Twins in the American League wild-card race until the second-to-last day of the season.

In 2,372 career games, Hunter hit .277 with 353 homers and 1,391 RBIs for Minnesota, the Los Angeles Angels and the Detroit Tigers. He playedin one AL Championship Series with each team.

After being drafted in the first round by the Twins as an 18-year-old out of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Hunter finished with his original team at age 40.

He made brief major league appearances in 1997 and 1998 before taking over as the Twins center fielder in 1999. He was one of 18 rookies who played for the Twins that season. By 2001, Hunter was a force, and he won the first of his nine Gold Glove awards while hitting 27 home runs and driving in 92 runs. Hunter was picked for his first of five All-Star Games in 2002, and in the game, he memorably stole a home run from Barry Bonds with a stellar snag over the center-field wall.

Hunter's best overall year might have been 2007, the end of his original tenure with the Twins. After batting .287 with 28 home runs and 18 steals with career highs in doubles (45) and RBIs (107), Hunter signed with the Angels, with whom he eventually moved to right field and became more of a contact hitter. He batted a career-best .313 in 2012, his final season on the West Coast.

Family was on Hunter's mind when he joined the Tigers.Torii Hunter a wide receiver forNotre Dame, one state from Detroit. When Hunter became a free agent again last winter, he didn'thesitate to come back to Minnesota, even though his rsum was missing a World Series and the Twins were fresh off a fourth straight season of 92 or more losses.

He was adamant from the start that he was coming to a team with talent and potential. Despite obvious flaws and mediocre competition in the AL, the resilient Twins found themselves in a playoff race again, with Hunter playing no small part.

Hunter's value transcended the field, as he provided tenacity, enthusiasm and advice for a young team in what turned out to be a one-year farewell tour with the Twins. He served as a sage guide to young outfielders such asByron Buxton and Aaron Hicks.Early on, he started an amusing tradition of postgame dance parties after home victories, and he even handed out "Torii Awards" for the best and worst move-busters among the bunch.

"It's a lot of fun being a part of those guys," Hunter said after the Twins concluded their season, "and hopefully they apply it to their lives and to their game and make themselves better."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.