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Hunter & Carew represent the Angels, Twins & baseball extremely well

This week’s All-Star Game festivities in Anaheim featured a decidedly Los Angeles Angels and Minnesota Twins flavor. The reason for this was the very prominent roles of Angels centerfielder Torii Hunter and Hall of Famer Rod Carew.   Both men represented the hometown Angels as official spokesmen for the several days of events.  Coincidently, both individuals also began their careers in Minnesota, before relocating to the heart of Orange County.

The All-Star FanFest welcoming banners, located at the entrance to the Anaheim Convention Center (pictured below),  were a perfect illustration of the popularity of these two players and the interesting link between the Twins and Angels organizations.  The photos of the players in Angels uniforms, set to a palm tree backdrop, could have easily been interchanged with Twins gear and a Downtown Minneapolis surrounding.

Once inside FanFest, the two stars were quite visible to baseball fans in attendance. Both guys signed autographs, interacted with fans and appeared on the cover of an event circular printed by the Orange County Register.   Hunter even spoke at a baseball clinic, with ironically, Twins second baseman Orlando Hudson.  

Hunter was also very available in and around All-Star Game headquarters at the Anaheim Marriott (pictured below).  While most players boarded their modes of transportation through a secure area, in route to Monday’s batting practice, Hunter chose to make his way amongst the gathering of fans to sign autographs and say hello to people along the way (pictured upper right and below).

Hunter and Carew were active participants in All-Star on field activities as well. Hunter represented the Angels on the American League roster, after being selected for the fourth time in his career. He has been an All-Star twice with the Twins and now twice with the Angels. Carew was given the honor of throwing out the game’s ceremonial first pitch.  The 18-time All-Star threw a strike to the squatting Hunter, minutes before the game’s actual first pitch was tossed by AL starter David Price.

There is no denying the similarities of these two individuals, as pertains to the teams they have played for. Carew spent 12 seasons in Minnesota, winning seven batting titles and the 1977 American League Most Valuable Player award. He played his final seven seasons with the Angels, collecting hit number 3,000 on August 4, 1985, amazingly, against the Twins.

Carew’s number 29 was retired by both teams and there is a statue of him in front of Target Field in Minneapolis and a statue of Carew’s daughter Michelle on the grounds of Angel Stadium.  Michelle Carew tragically died of leukemia in 1996, at the age of 18.

Hunter played 11 seasons with the Twins and was instrumental in the team’s return to respectability and success. Playing in their first postseason since 1991, Hunter’s Twins lost to the Angels in the 2002 American League Championship Series. The Angels would go on to defeat the San Francisco Giants in the 2002 World Series.

Hunter signed a free agent contract with the Angels prior to the 2008 season.  He has won nine consecutive Gold Gloves and has appeared in the postseason on eight occasions, five as a Twin and three times with the Angels.

Torii Hunter and Rod Carew have made significant contributions to the Angels, Twins and All-Star Games, both past and present. The game of baseball has been well served by the efforts of these uniquely linked ballplayers.

 

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Jon Rapoport has spent his career working on all sides of the media and sports industry. He began his career at ESPN in studio production at the ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut. While there, he won an Emmy for his contribution to "SportsCenter." Following his tenure at ESPN, Jon relocated to Los Angeles, joining the staff of the “Best Damn Sports Show” on FOX Sports Net.

Upon leaving the show, Jon worked in Web site and sports radio show development/production, with Major League Baseball in media operation logistics for the World Baseball Classic and on behalf of Los Angeles’ effort to bring the 2016 Summer Olympics back to Southern California. Jon currently writes a political blog for the Los Angeles edition of Examiner.com.

Born and raised in Plymouth, Minnesota (just outside of Minneapolis), Jon is an avid sports fan, particularly for his beloved Minnesota teams. Jon graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park, where he earned his BA in communication and interned for ABC’s “Good Morning America” in New York City and Washington D.C. He is married and resides in Los Angeles.  

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