Molitor, Abreu: two of a kind

When I first came up to big league camp with the Twins in 1997, Paul Molitor was nearing the end of his career, and he had a big impact on me. What’s interesting is that I now see so many similarities between Molitor and Bobby Abreu, who has been such a great teammate this season.

Molly came over and didn’t talk about himself, what he’d done. He just talked about things that he thought could help me. It wasn’t like he was trying to tell me what to do – he was giving me options, things to think about. He wasn’t about changing your swing. It was about figuring out the best ways to use your natural ability.

One of the things Molly stressed was getting a good pitch to hit. Be aggressive, but also be smart. Don’t bury yourself in counts swinging at pitchers’ pitches. I’d been a very aggressive hitter in my Minor League career, and Molly stressed that I had a better chance of getting hits swinging at strikes.

He had so much information and was so willing to share it, I couldn’t understand why more guys didn’t go to him. Corey Koskie, Jacque Jones and myself, we all tried to pick his brain every chance we got. He was a DH in ’97 and ’98, at the end of his career, but we knew everything he accomplished – 3,000 hits, clutch hitter, World Series champion.

He had a short stroke and was aggressive up there. Back in those days, it wasn’t about on-base percentage and walks as much as it is now, and from my point of view that’s more about how the strike zone has changed than anything else. You look at old game film on MLB Network, and you’ll see strikes called that are balls now.

With Bobby, it’s the same thing here, working with all these young guys, as it was with Molly in Minnesota. Bobby will talk about hitting, baserunning, defense, anything you want to talk about. He knows the game inside-out.

He’s been a huge help to Erick Aybar, Kendry Morales, even veteran players like Chone Figgins and myself. Howard Kendrick, I’m sure he’s gone to Bobby. When you have somebody like that in your clubhouse, you take advantage of his knowledge.

One thing Bobby pushes is that you’ve got a better chance to get a hit in the strike zone – the same thing Molly talked about. With Bobby, he can tell you about it and show you how to do it. His approach up there is amazing. He has such great awareness of the strike zone and confidence in his ability to hit with two strikes. He’s always looking for that pitch he can handle, and when he sees it, he goes after it.

Something else about Bobby: He’s always been a clutch hitter. Just like Molly. When I was in Minnesota, Bobby was the one guy we didn’t want to beat us. Everybody knew what kind of hitter he was in the clutch.

It seems like Bobby is finally starting to get the respect he deserves with the media and fans. He’s always had much respect from the players. Everyone in the game knows what a great player he’s been for a long time.

When you think about it, it was that way with Molly too. Late in his career, people started looking at his numbers and seeing how great he’d been for a long time.

I’ve been lucky to play with two guys like that – total pros who play the game right and love to share their knowledge and experience.



  1. cubanmiamiwhitesox

    Wow … I had no idea that Toriie was so full of himself. He is a great player but he plainly stated that Figgins and himself are BETTER player than aybar & Morales. Who is he to express himself like that in a blog?

    He just lost a lot of credibility in my book. Cheers and I hope that the halos win it all

  2. itmonkey

    Hey cubanmiamiwhitesox, Torii is pure class. I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that when he said that he just meant more seasoned players with years of MLB experience. Obviously KMo and Erick are tremendously gifted players.

  3. carmine

    It takes a secure person to want to be able to learn from someone that has experience. To be able to open your mind and heart to know that you don’t know everything and maybe someone else that is experienced can share his secrets with you.
    I don’t think Torri meant to say that he is any better then the next guy. Yes, he has more experience, along with Figgins.
    In some cases you have to be secure in yourself to be at this level. But, I don’t think Torii is the type of man to “be Fulll of himself” in a bad way. He knows his capability and what he’s accomplished. Come on he’s an 8 time golden glove winner. How do you think he got to this level??
    Good Luck!! Go Angels!!


    I believe he meant to say “veteran” not “better.” I don’t think he actually types the blog himself. He probably dictates to someone who types it up.

    Torii is not full of himself…he is quite the opposite!

  5. toriihuntermlblog

    That was a typo, not Torii’s fault at all. I know. It was my mistake in transcribing it. He definitely said veteran, not better. He is far from full of himself, by the way. He’s as down to earth as any athlete you’ll ever meet. He’s even better, in fact, than his fans realize once you really get to know the guy. He is the truth.

  6. Greg

    Ohhhhh, man! Torri doesn’t type these out himself? I feel so cheated!!! Haha, I’m just joking around. I’m looking forward to seeing Torii play against the Sox in the playoffs. Eventhough I am a Red Sox fans, Torri is one of my all-time favorite players. Would love to meet up before the game, next Sunday if there is time and it doesn’t interfere at all, as I am at the ballpark long before the gates open. Good luck (not too much, though) to you in the post season.

    Red Sox Rambllings:



    Thanks for your thoughts on Molitor and Abreu. As always, I appreciate your respect for those guys who “do things right.”

    Best of luck as you and your mates take on my BoSox in the ALDS. All season, I’ve been fretting about my guys’ character. I don’t like the way we “backed in” to qualifying for the playoffs. I don’t like the absence of a real “close-the-deal” approach, similar to what we’ve had in past seasons – especially those recent playoffs when we beat the Halos.

    But, I remain a fan, and I’ll be rooting against you. I don’t have to say it, but: give it your best, man! If my Red Sox surprise me by advancing this postseason, I want to be sure they earn every at-bat, every on-base, every stolen base, every run, every strike-pitched, every out, and (hopefully) every win.

    It’s great that the true test – on the field – is against the best, you and your AL West Champion organization.

    MM – Madison, WI


    As a college baseball coach I am thrilled that Torii shared this valuable information about an approach to hitting that I try to pass along to my young hitters here at Arkansas-Monticello. I will definitley use this article as reference to enable our guys to become better hitters. Thanks T



    You have become one of my favorite athletes, not just on the Angels, but in all professional sports. I truly wish you and the Angels the best, especially this postseason. I am an Angels fan not only because you guys play baseball the right way, but because you guys play hard, and with heart. May you remember the brother-in-arms that you lost, and that the Angels play not only for him, but with him. I hope you guys can fall upon the memory of Nick Adenhart when times get tough and inspire you toward success.

  10. carmine

    Good Luck, Torii!!! Play HARD and SMART!! All of the Angels fans will be there to support the ANGELS!!! I will be there PRAYINGG for you and alll of the team to play with your HEARTS!!! GO ANGELS!!!

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