“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.”
Hunter, 40, made his major-league debut with the Twins in 1997, playing one inning as a defensive replacement. He had another brief MLB cameo in 1998 before becoming an everyday player in 1999. In 2007, he signed as a free agent with the Angels, where he played five seasons. He spent 2013 and 2014 with the Tigers before returning to Minnesota this season.
Hunter posted a message on Instagram after the announcement.
My family and I feel as though the time has come to close the door on this chapter in my life. I've been married to the game for many years and now it is time to start a new chapter. I have learned a lot during this journey, and I appreciate the opportunity that God has given me to play this great game. Some will say that I am retiring from baseball; but I will say that I am transitioning, because BASEBALL will be a part of my life forever. #loveyoufans #blessed #seeyaaround
Hunter won nine straight Gold Gloves as a centerfielder from 2001 to 2009 and was a five-time All-Star. He batted .240 with a .409 slugging percentage this season, his lowest since his rookie year.
- Dan Gartland