Former Major League outfielder Torii Hunter said in a recent interview that despite wanting to play for the Red Sox, he did everything he could to ensure that it never happened.
Hunter, who played in MLB from 1997-2015 and made five All-Star teams, was asked about his reaction to the recent protests over police brutality and racial injustice during a call on ESPN’s “Golic and Wingo.” In his response, Hunter described his own experience as a player.
Specifically, he cited Boston as a place where he was subjected to racial abuse by fans.
“I’ve been called the N-word in Boston 100 times, and I said something about it,” Hunter said.
Hunter explained how he believed the response to his comments about Boston would be perceived.
“‘Oh, he’s just a militant, he’s lying, this didn’t happen,'” Hunter said. “No, it happened. All the time. From little kids. And grown-ups right next to them didn’t say anything.
“So I had a no-trade clause in everything I had not to go to Boston,” Hunter continued. “Not because of all the people, not because of the teammates, not because of the front office. Because if you’re doing that and it’s allowed amongst the people, I don’t want to be there. And that’s why I had a no-trade clause to Boston. Every contract I’ve ever had. And I always wanted to play for them. It sucks.”
David Ortiz, a friend of Hunter’s, once tried to recruit him to play for the Red Sox, but the abuse kept the nine-time Gold Glove winner from signing in Boston.
“I tried to have him play with me come and play with me in Boston one year when he was a free agent,” Ortiz told ESPN’s Outside the Lines in 2017. “And [the racial slurs] bothered him so much that was reason enough for him not to come and play.