Minnesota Twins legend Torii Hunter, and his excellent glove, spent nearly two decades patrolling the outfield.
Hunter’s son, Torii Jr., used his hands and speed in other ways. In addition to playing baseball at Notre Dame, the son played college football and suited up at receiver for the Fighting Irish.
Time flies very quickly. Torii Sr. is now on the National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot, and his son is following in his father’s footsteps.
Torii Hunter is a Minnesota Twins legend
A first-round pick of the Minnesota Twins in 1993, Torii Hunter had an excellent and lengthy MLB career.
Although he made five All-Star Games, Hunter is easily one of the most underrated players from his generation. Hunter hit .277 with 353 home runs and 1,391 RBIs in 19 seasons.
The dynamic outfielder won nine Gold Glove Awards, all coming between 2001-09, and finished just shy of 2,500 career hits. According to Baseball-Reference, Hunter totaled 50.7 Wins Above Replacement in his career.
Over half of that, 26.4, came in 12 seasons with the Twins. Hunter totaled an impressive 19.2 WAR in his five seasons with the Angels from 2008-12.
His son was a two-sport athlete at Notre Dame
Torii Hunter passed on his athletic genes to his son, Torii Jr.
At 6 feet and 195 pounds, Torii Hunter Jr. played baseball and football at Notre Dame. On the diamond, Hunter — an outfielder, like his father — hit .167 with two doubles and an RBI across 23 games at Notre Dame.
Hunter caught 73 passes for 939 yards and six touchdowns for the Fighting Irish. He also ran for 29 yards on seven carries and had a 35-yard pass.
The father is now eligible for the Hall of Fame
Torii Hunter is on the 2021 Hall of Fame ballot, and he has an intriguing case.
According to Baseball-Reference, Hunter’s 50.7 WAR ranks 15th among the 25 players on this year’s ballot. Hunter didn’t reach 2,500 hits, let alone 3,000, and he never really ranked among the league’s most elite outfielders.
Hunter’s glove and high character could win him some extra votes, especially with several alleged steroid users — and players who either admitted to or were suspended for using performance-enhancing drugs.
Hunter needs to appear on at least 5% of ballots to remain eligible in 2022.
Torii Hunter Jr. is now following in his father’s footsteps
While Torii Hunter Sr. awaits his fate relating to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, his son is following in his father’s footsteps.
The Los Angeles Angels used a 23rd-round pick on Torii Hunter Jr. in 2016, and he began playing minor league ball in 2017. Hunter hit .352 with a home run, 28 RBIs, 13 stolen bases, and 10 doubles in rookie ball that year.
Across two levels of minor league play in 2018, Hunter hit .264 with two home runs and 28 RBIs, but he stole another 29 bases. Hunter hit .248 in 77 minor league games in 2019.
The 2020 minor league season did not happen because of the coronavirus pandemic. It is not yet known where Hunter Jr. will tentatively begin play in 2021, assuming the minor league season starts on time.
All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.