Torii Hunter, born in Pine Bluff in 1975, had one of the greatest baseball careers of any Arkansan who played the game. A natural athlete, Hunter gravitated toward baseball after a home run in a Little League game at age 13 led to reporters interviewing him.
He was the first draft pick for the Minnesota Twins in 1993, playing with them until the California Angels wooed him away with a ninety million dollar contract in 2007. He later played two seasons with the Detroit Tigers before returning to the Twins.
Hunter retired in 2015, having played 2,372 games, winning nine consecutive Gold Glove awards, getting 2,452 safe hits – 890 for extra bases – driving in 1,391 runs and stealing 195 bases while committing only fifty-two errors as an outfielder.
His later philanthropy included a significant contribution to the baseball complex at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, which was named in his honor.
To learn more, visit EncyclopediaOfArkansas.net.