Torii Hunter had a much better career than my memory told me he had.
He played 19 seasons in the MLB (though he played just 7 games in the first two, so they really shouldn’t count). He played in 2372 games, had 2452 hits, 353 home runs and a .277/.331/.461 batting line, good for a 50.7 bWAR. He also had 195 steals.
This is Torii’s second time on the ballot. He was a yes on 9.5% of the Writer’s ballots.
He made it to the playoffs eight times but didn’t get that World Series ring. Torii was also an outstanding defensive center fielder. He won 9 Gold Gloves in center field. If Vizquel can get votes for his defense at short, maybe Hunter should get votes for defense.
He made 5 All-Star teams, had 2 Silver Slugger Awards, and got MVP votes five times. His highest finish was 6th.
Torii was very consistent, having OPS+ values between 102 and 129 in 14 seasons and bWAR values between 3 and 5.4 for 12 straight seasons. His peak wasn’t as high as many Hall of Fame players, but he didn’t have dips in his career. He was good for several years but perhaps never great.
I’d much rather have him in the Hall than Harold Baines, but perhaps Baines isn’t the bar we should be using. But I’d prefer Hunter over Vizquel too.
I’ll admit that Hunter would be an excellent fit for the Jays in his prime. I’d love to have a CFer that good with a glove and that a bat that is that consistent.
Hunter is one of those guys who will have to build a little bit each year if he makes it to the Hall.
Would you vote Torii Hunter into the Baseball Hall of Fame?
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