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According to the Pine Bluff native, that was not the case in summer 1997. Torii Hunter was playing for the Minnesota Twins Class AA affiliate in New Britain, Connecticut, and struggling on and off the field. According to Hunter, he and teammate, Texas native Armann Brown, didn’t have enough money for an apartment, so they lived in a rented car for which they paid $7 a day. He missed his wife, Katrina, their son, and other family and friends at home.
“Things weren’t going where I planned. Our plan is a straight line — from point A to point B,” Hunter says. “But we are always going to have struggles and storms and quicksand in our way or a hurricane and hail. When you get to that point B, you actually grasp it and hold on to it, understand it and appreciate it more.”
Hunter told a crowd gathered for a fundraiser at the Governor’s Mansion last week that he prayed to God to intervene. Two weeks later, he said, he was a member of the Minnesota Twins. Hunter bounced back and forth between the Twins and the minors the next few years before forging an 11-year career with the Twins with home run-robbing catches and towering homers of his own.
“I think [the struggles] were something God had me go through, but once I got to the Major Leagues and got a cup of coffee and understood what I was working for, I got it,” says Hunter, who has won nine Gold Glove Awards. “You have to work for it, and after you work for it, you hang around for a long time. You are talking about 19 seasons.”
After five seasons with the Los Angeles Angles of Anaheim and two with the Detroit Tigers, Hunter is back in Minnesota, but the situation couldn’t be any different than it was when he went to the state for the first time via Connecticut 18 years ago.
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