JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

Torii Hunter and my all-time favorites

Was just watching a little MLB Network. Saw an interview with Torii Hunter, and was reminded how much I always liked the guy.

When Hunter was a young player with the Twins, Sports Illustrated sent me to Minneapolis to hang with him. In a word: Fantastic. We spent the day driving around, talking, etc. I don’t recall anything spectacular, just that he was a nice, honest, decent, friendly individual. In fact, inspired by Hunter’s appearance, here’s my top-of-the-head All-Nice Guy lineup from my years covering the majors:

C-Sal Fasano: Simply the best, without question

1B-Sean Casey: There has never been a friendlier human being to walk the planet.

2B-Delino DeShields: Most writers didn’t like. But I found him to be extremely intelligent and honest.

SS-David Eckstein: As human as they come.

3B-Robin Ventura: Smart, and understood the oddness of the writer-ballplayer relationship.

OF-Shawn Green: Just a cool dude. And Jewish bonus points!

OF-Gary Sheffield: Strange to be on this list, but I can’t recall a boring moment with him.

OF-Ken Griffey, Jr.: As entertaining as they came.

DH-Mike Sweeney: A truly nice and humble man.

P-Dwight Gooden: Too nice for his own good.

P-Steve Traschel: Always accesible and reasonable.

P-Gregg Olson: The reliever, not the catcher.

P-Kerry Lightenberg: I wonder if he still has the lambchops.

P-Paul Wilson: Coulda shoulda been a great Met.

Manager: Tony Muser: Players hated him. I always liked the guy.