MINNEAPOLIS -- Up to now, Torii Hunter will readily admit that the 2002 season with the Twins -- when, ironically enough, they lost to the Angels in the American League Championship Series -- is his career highlight. It's his hope that this season changes that.
"The 2002 season was No. 1 to me," Hunter said. "All those guys on the team were like family. We came up together, we knew each other, knew what we can and can't do, on and off the field. We were like brothers, man. We had a lot of fun."
Hunter and new teammate LaTroy Hawkins returned to Minnesota on Monday, when the Twins commemorated the 10th anniversary of the '02 team that not only had success on the field, but -- because of the threat of contraction prior to the season -- might have saved baseball in the city.
Hunter and Hawkins had breakfast with former Twins Eddie Guardado and Jacque Jones, watched intently as the JumboTron showed highlights of the '02 season and took part in the ceremonial first pitch.
"It just brings back memories," said Hunter, who made two All-Star teams and won seven Gold Glove Awards while spending his first 11 seasons with the Twins. "This is home. This is where it all started for me. This is where I learned how to play baseball, this is where I grew as a young boy to become a man and this is something I'll never forget. It's always stuck to my heart, the Twins organization. They've done a lot for me."