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Torii Hunter: One of the ten best position players in Minnesota Twins history

Torii Hunter has retired, eternally freezing his stat lines into the annals of baseball history. Where does he rank in the history of the Minnesota Twins organization?

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Torii Hunter has retired. This was the decision most people expected him to make - because he didn't want to be a part-time player, because the Twins have so many young and talented outfielders, because his performance was in decline, because age takes its toll - but with Torii, you just never really knew which way he'd go. Now we know.

Maybe he always knew that 2015 would be he last season, but there's little doubt that he hadn't made up his mind on the last day of the season. It's unfair to expect a man in Hunter's position to know and admit that it's all over on the day the season ends. In the end he's chosen to "transition" away from being a player on the field; maybe it means being a coach for Paul Molitor or being a member of Terry Ryan's front office or stepping into the broadcast booth or taking a year off before making a decision on his future, but for now Hunter has chosen his family over baseball. He'll get to spend time with his wife and watch his sons play collegiate football. After 19 years in the Major Leagues and after playing professional baseball for 19 years, that will be a treat and a well-earned break.

Last spring we took a look at where Torii Hunter's career numbers stood in the context of Twins history. Now that his stat line is frozen in history, it's time to write our final edition on that subject.

Power-Speed: 160.2 (2nd)

Kirby Puckett: 162.7

This might sound made up, but I promise it's not. Baseball has long been enamored with those special players who have been able to combine the skills of power and speed, because for the most part those two skill sets exist independent of each other. But some players have both, and they make for some of the game's most desired talents. defines their power-speed number as 2 x (Home Runs x Stolen Bases) / (Stolen Bases + Home Runs); the harmonic mean of of homers and steals, players must do a good deal of both to rate well. This stat was developed by Bill James. By this standard, Hunter was one of the most unique talents in Twins history.

Stolen Bases: 128 (5th)

Chuck Knoblauch: 276
Rod Carew: 271
Cesar Tovar: 186
Kirby Puckett: 134

Suffice it to say that the Twins haven't had a great number of base stealers since coming to Minnesota in 1961 - or at least, not enough of them who have put together a string of great seasons being a thief. Knoblauch and Carew were of course very good at this part of the game, and Tovar was pretty quick, but Puckett certainly makes this list by virtue of his tenure with a single team. Puck stole 21 and 20 bases in '85 and '86 respectively, but it would take him the next five seasons combined to surpass that two-year total. Hunter stole 103 bases between 2002 and 2007, and it would have been more had he not lost a third of his 2005 season to injury. At any rate, he's not in danger of being surpassed any time soon.

Home Runs: 214 (6th)

Harmon Killlebrew: 475
Kent Hrbek: 293
Justin Morneau: 221
Tony Oliva: 220
Bob Allison: 211

Including years with the Washington Senators would change things a bit, bumping Killebrew even further into first place with 559 home runs in the organization and lifting Bob Allison into third with 356. Either way, Torii Hunter finishes in sixth place with 214 home runs after surpassing both Gary Gaetti (201) and Kirby Puckett (207) in 2015. It's hard to say how many career homers Hunter would have ended up with had he stayed in Minnesota his entire career, but he did crank out another 139 home runs between the Angels and the Tigers. It's easy to envision a version of history where Hunter never left Minnesota, and finishes second on this list.

RBI: 792 (6th)

Harmon Killebrew: 1,325
Kent Hrbek: 1,086
Kirby Puckett: 1,085
Tony Oliva: 947
Justin Morneau: 860

Joe Mauer will catch Hunter next year, but for now the "ribbie" is one of Hunter's best achievements for counting stats. He drove in 1,391 RBI in his career, which still falls nearly 200 short of Killebrew's career totals, but it's another testament for how productive Torii was throughout his years in baseball.

Doubles: 281 (7th)

Kirby Puckett: 414
Joe Mauer: 343
Tony Oliva: 329
Kent Hrbek: 312
Rod Carew: 305
Justin Morneau: 289

If you're looking for Harmon Killebrew on this list, he's not. Imagine a slower version of Jim Thome. Killebrew essentially just murdered baseballs in cold blood and then walked as far as he could safely go, and as a result he actually hit relatively few two-baggers. He his 27 once. He hit 24 another time. He hit 21 once. But in his prime, from 1959 to 1967, he averaged just 20 a year. Torii, on the other hand, hit 45 in 2007 and topped 30 on four other occasions with the Twins.

Hits: 1,343 (7th)

Kirby Puckett: 2,304
Rod Carew: 2,085
Tony Oliva: 1,917
Kent Hrbek: 1,749
Harmon Killebrew: 1,713
Joe Mauer: 1,697

It's a testament to not just how long Hunter played, but for how long during his career he was a good player: his 2,452 career hits would qualify him for first place on this list if he hadn't left Minnesota. As things stand, Hunter had just seven seasons in his prime as a full-time player with the Twins. He passed both Justin Morneau (1,318) and Gary Gaetti (1,276) this year.

Games Played: 1,373 (7th)

Harmon Killebrew: 1,939
Kirby Puckett: 1,783
Kent Hrbek: 1,747
Tony Oliva: 1,676
Rod Carew: 1,635
Joe Mauer: 1,456

Passing Morneau and Gaetti, Hunter's ranking of seventh again reminds us of just how long he's played for. It's also a reminder of how rare it is to see someone play for one team for eight, nine, ten years. Perhaps the length of Hunter's career overall is what makes his chart-climbing for Minnesota seem so impressive, as though the time he spent away from Minnesota has made us forget just how long he was a fabric of the club.

Runs Scored: 739 (7th)

Kirby Puckett: 1,071
Harmon Killebrew: 1,047
Rod Carew: 950
Kent Hrbek: 903
Tony Oliva: 870
Joe Mauer: 817

Hunter scored more than 90 runs in a season just once with the Twins. More than anything, this tally reminds me of just how great the teams were that Kirby and Harmon played for. To score, not only do you need to play a lot and get on base a lot, but you need the guys behind you to be good enough to drive you home consistently.

Slugging %: .462 (11th)

Harmon Killebrew: .518
Justin Morneau: .485
Don Mincher: .483
Jimmie Hall: .481
Kent Hrbek: .481
Bob Allison: .479
Shane Mack: .479
Kirby Puckett: .477
Tony Oliva: .476
Corey Koskie: .463

Hunter's rate stats obviously took a hit in 2015, as the rules of time on athletes took their usual toll. Hunter's slugging percentage through 2007 was .469, so there wasn't a great dip here but that mark would have been good enough to nudge Hunter into the top ten.

Strikeouts: 975 (2nd)

Harmon Killebrew: 1,314

It's a dubious honor, but like Bert Blyleven and home runs - you can't have the most of them without being good enough to play for a long, long time. And let's be honest, we've all been frustrated more than once when Torii took a cut on a fastball at his neck or at a breaking ball down and away.

Double Plays: 148 (5th)

Harmon Killbrew: 210
Kirby Puckett: 188
Joe Mauer: 171
Kent Hrbek: 165

The greatest players in any organization's history will have grounded into a lot of double plays. I don't know about you, but I'll gladly take the frustration of double plays in return for players the caliber of Killebrew, Puckett, Mauer, Hrbek, and Hunter.

Is Torii Hunter one of the Twins' ten greatest position players ever?

When I asked the question last April, 48% of you were ready to call Hunter one of the best ten position players in team history. 28% of you said no, but the last 25% of you (yes, it adds up to 101%, blame rounding) said that he could be by the time he's done.

Now he's done, so the question is: who would you rank above him? Harmon Killebrew, Kirby Puckett, and Rod Carew are the no-doubters. Tony Oliva and Kent Hrbek show up on these lists a number of times, too. Hunter has never won a World Series, but neither has Joe Mauer who shows up a number of times on these lists and is still playing. Bob Allison's rankings take a hit on a couple of occasions as far as these lists are concerned because, like Killebrew, some of his numbers were accumulated while the club was still located in Washington - but he was still a very good player. So too were Gary Gaetti and Chuck Knoblauch.

If you're asking me, the answers is an unequivocal yes. Not only does Hunter rank in the top ten of the above categories (and 11th in slugging percentage), but he helped lead the club to four division championships in five years, made a pair of All-Star teams, and won seven consecutive Gold Gloves before departing for greener pastures. He may not have left behind the legacy that his hero had generated, but Hunter is an indelible and unforgettable member of some very good Minnesota Twins teams.

Enjoy retirement, Torii. Thanks for the years of effort, of sweat and tears and lost time with your wife and family, for the joy you brought to Twins fans and baseball fans everywhere, for helping to save baseball in Minnesota. No doubt we'll see you back with the organization in some capacity before too long.