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Twins fan favorite Torii Hunter announces retirement after 19-year career

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Minnesota Twins outfielder Torii Hunter announced his retirement Monday.

Hunter, who returned to the Twins for one final season, hit .240 with 22 home runs and 81 RBIs in 139 games with the Twins. While the batting average was the lowest of his career, the Associated Press notes that Hunter's value to the team transcended the field.

The 40-year-old veteran provided the Twins with leadership, tenacity and enthusiasm.

The five-time All-Star and nine-time Gold Glove winner said at the end of the regular season he was leaning towards retirement.

He made the announcement to the Star Tribune's La Velle E. Neal Monday, saying he still loves the game, "but time has taken a toll on me mentally and physically."

"I'm sad because it's all I've known for half of my life. 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. So I got through a lot of hardships and a lot of hard times and I learned from them and I made adjustments, which you have to do in the game of baseball as well as the game of life. So baseball taught me a lot."

Hunter debuted with the Twins in 1997 and stayed with the club until he signed with the Los Angeles Angels as a free agent before the 2008 season. After spending two seasons with Detroit, Hunter turned down a chance to sign with Kansas City to return to Minnesota in 2015.

"I've been married to the game 23 years," Hunter told the Star Tribune. "I put it almost No. 1 in my life. My family kind of second. I made sacrifices for my family. And now it is time to give them more time."

Hunter didn't play in his final game at Target Field, but he did take a curtain call.

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Over his 19-year MLB career, Hunter hit .277 with 353 home runs and 1,391 RBIs.

While Hunter went to the postseason eight times, he never won a World Series ring. Pro Baseball Talk says that doesn't diminish what was a heck of a playing career.

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