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Great Moments in Great Memories: Torii Hunter

Aug 9, 2010, 10:40 AM EDT

Torii Hunter on moving to right field to make way for Peter Bourjos:

“Kirby did the same thing for me, he moved to
right field to make room for me in center field,” Hunter said.
“[Bourjos] is a great kid. He’s 23 years old, he can run, so let him
run. With that kind of speed, I’ll work with him. My job, like Kirby’s
job, was to help the next guy coming along. And my job is to help us win

Kirby Puckett’s final major league game: September 28, 1995
Torii Hunter’s first major league game: August 22, 1997

The immortal who moved off center for Hunter was Rich Becker. Point is taken, though.

  1. BC - Aug 9, 2010 at 10:58 AM

    Kirby moved to right field because he got fat and couldn’t run any more. Still had a cannon for an arm right up until the end.

  2. easports82 - Aug 9, 2010 at 11:00 AM

    Really, Craig? Had to spoil that nice tale of veteran leadership with facts?

  3. Old Gator - Aug 9, 2010 at 11:06 AM

    If I’m not mistaken, Kirby did spend time coaching and working with Hunter – not sure if that was just in the minor leagues, spring camp or when he came up. At my age, I can pardon Tori’s fuzzy memory about when what happened happened. Hell, I can’t even remember the name of the older kid who used to beat me up on the playground all the time, and I still want to kill him.

  4. RDuffieldC - Aug 9, 2010 at 11:07 AM

    Are you sure that quote didn’t come from Joe Morgan?

  5. The Common Man - Aug 9, 2010 at 11:16 AM

    Oops! I love it. I’m sure that’s how Torii remembers it too.

  6. Jonny5 - Aug 9, 2010 at 11:17 AM

    It clearly shows that indeed Hunter has lost his marbles.

  7. Jonny5 - Aug 9, 2010 at 11:20 AM

    His name was Butch.

  8. ThatGuy - Aug 9, 2010 at 11:24 AM

    Torii was drafted in 93′, as a first round pick im sure he was in spring training with the Twins until 97. He is probably recalling spring training games.

  9. Old Gator - Aug 9, 2010 at 11:25 AM

    That’s it! Mama, hand me down my cattlegun.

  10. Trevor B - Aug 9, 2010 at 11:31 AM

    While reading this I was questioning my memory as I, too, thought Kirby and Torii never took the field together. It could have been possible in spring training or pre-season Kirby made way for a young Hunter, however, I am not sure.
    Kirby did mentor Torii during the spring training, however, just like Hunter did for Denard Span prior to his departure.

  11. dbs - Aug 9, 2010 at 12:40 PM

    With Becker rather than Puckett in CF probably made it easier to Hunter to get promoted to major leagues. I do remember stories about Puckett tutoring Hunter about someday replacing him with the Twins

  12. Thomas - Aug 9, 2010 at 1:16 PM

    Kent Hrbeck: “Mr. Hunter, I served with Kirby Puckett, I knew Kirby Puckett, Kirby Puckett was a friend of mine. Mr. Hunter, you’re no Kirby Puckett.”
    Torii Hunter: “Mr. Hrbeck, that was uncalled for…”
    Kent Hrbeck: “You are the one that was making the comparison, Mr. Hunter–and I’m one who knew him well.”

  13. bhenrymoreland - Aug 9, 2010 at 1:30 PM

    What Torii may have meant (stretch) was that he day he signed with the Twins (July 12, 1993) was the day after Puckett’s last game as the Twins’ regular center fielder. Perhaps Puck made the move in deference to Torii’s future greatness, but I’m guessing it happened because Tom Kelly thought that Shane Mack could cover more ground and Puck’s knees didn’t need any extra punishment from the brick-hard Metrodome turf.

  14. doctorfunke - Aug 9, 2010 at 1:56 PM

    Really? Hrbeck? You must not be a Twins fan.

  15. Thomas - Aug 9, 2010 at 5:03 PM

    I’m a Twins fan, Doc. (Really.) I’m a Twins fan who failed to check the correct spelling of Hrbek’s name. (Really.) I don’t live in Minnesota; actually no where near Minnesota. (Really.) Nor have I been to the Twin Cities to see a game since the early nineties, so I haven’t been subjected to the no-c spelling of his name over the past 20-some years as you clearly have, mostly because my childhood baseball card collection is gathering dust somewhere in my basement. (Really.) Actually, while composing the message, I was far more concerned with an accurate scripting of the 1988 Bentsen-Quayle debate dialogue, figuring that the substance of the message was far more important than minute details like no-c Hrbek. (Really.) I sincerely apologize for upsetting you, and I wish you the best in taking your valuable time to rid the world of with-c Hrbecks. (Really.) You are correct in your cause, and I’m sure no-c Hrbek would agree. Really.

  16. doctorfunke - Aug 10, 2010 at 8:33 AM

    I bet he would, Thommas.

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