Thursday, March 6, 2008

Peter Gammons on Torii Hunter

Two excerpts from Peter Gammons' most recent blog post (click here to read it) really impressed me.

First on Torii Hunter's character,
When Hunter's agent, Larry Reynolds, told Angels owner Arte Moreno that Torii's social dreams had to be a part of the contract, the Angels built Hunter's Hundred into the contract so that not only will 100 underprivileged children go to every game, but the team also will invest in and work with agencies of Hunter's interest.

Hunter and his wife, Katrina, already have The Torii Hunter Project, which donates huge amounts of money to Little League and youth programs in depressed areas. They sponsor 14 teams to go to Williamsport, Pa., and other areas of the country, and work with the RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) program.

"I can't stand hearing people complain that 8 percent of major league players are African-American," says Hunter. "I say, 'Do something.'" When asked about the funding for his project, he says "some comes from corporate sponsorships, some comes from other players, and whenever we need more, I pay for it. I can afford it."
As always, looking for a way to link baseball to it's cultural context, Gammons draws a parallel between Hunter's clubhouse presence and American politics,

The Angels know who they got in Torii Hunter -- a man who drips energy and preaches hope and potential. There are numbers that will quantify what Hunter is or isn't worth, just as there are politicians who try to tell us that "experience" is far more important than the foundation of hope and potential.

Those numbers don't matter as much as Hunter's ability to energize and inspire his teammates, with character that cannot be quantified...
It is a joy to read Peter Gammons. I wonder who he'll vote for?


Siege said...

Interesting that Gammons seems to show his political cards here. Great comments about a baseball hero who is a role model on and off the field. Class act. I will miss not seeing him in a Twins uniform this year.

On a related note: My favorite Torii Hunter moment was last season when you (the Cook) shouted from the stands, "We Love You, Torii!" He looked back, flashed that signature Torii smile and waved. We of course erupted in the stands. Beautiful.

Becky said...

This story reminds me of another great player and my personal favorite, Hector Villanueva. Another hero and good minority representative.