The San Francisco Giants never won a World Series in their 52 year history on the West Coast until Aubrey Huff came to the Bay Area. Huff, and his band of castoffs and misfits won the 2010 World Series and Huff led the team in nearly every offensive category. He would win a second ring in 2012 before retiring in January of 2014.
Despite all the success Aubrey Huff had with the San Francisco Giants, fans don’t know that he was battling anxiety and depression behind the scenes. While fans were cheering to see his “rally thong,” Huff was in pain. While fans were wondering why the success of the 2010 season didn’t translate into the next three years with the Giants, Aubrey’s struggles off the field were kept secret.
The San Francisco Giants were Huff’s fifth and final team during his 13 year career. He had also played with the Tampa Bay Rays, Baltimore Orioles, Houston Astros and Detroit Tigers. It wasn’t until the 2015 Off-season where Aubrey Huff revealed that he had been struggling with anxiety and depression. When he spoke to reporters in 2015, he was attempting a comeback to the big leagues at age 39.
“My career didn’t really end the way I wanted it to,” Huff said at the time. “I was 35 years old and I still had a lot of baseball in my bones, but I was going through so much anxiety that right then was a good time to quit.”
In his 13 seasons in the big leagues, Huff hit .278/.342/.464 with 242 home runs and 904 RBI in 1,681 games. In 2010 for the San Francisco Giants, Huff led the team in Games, At Bats, Hits, Runs, Home Runs, Runs Batted In, On Base Percentage and OPS.
Aubrey Huff’s first home run as a Giant was an inside-the-park home run vs the Pittsburgh Pirates
“The biggest thing for me is to inspire people because millions and millions of people live with anxiety and depression throughout their life,” he said. “If they can see a guy that’s went through it publicly and go out there in front of 40,000 people a night and know that it can be beat, it’s going to give them a lot of hope.”
Huff has now written a book, titled Baseball Junkie, which he is currently funding through Kickstarter. As he states on the book’s Kickstarter page, “Baseball Junkie is the story of a man who seemingly has everything—a place in Major League Baseball history, success, fame, money, a beautiful family—and yet, finds himself staring straight at a loaded .375 Magnum, contemplating suicide.”
"“Baseball Junkie follows Huff through a rollercoaster ride from humble beginnings as a quiet, shy kid growing up in a trailer park in a small Texas town, to an Adderall-infused egomaniac standing in front of a million-plus Giants fans, proudly displaying women’s underwear, his ‘rally thong,’ for the world to see.” “The book is a portrayal of the internal struggles Aubrey experienced playing in the Big Show. It takes the reader inside the complex life and mind of a man as he balances victories with internal struggles: addiction, divorce, anxiety, depression, and feelings of inferiority.” “It inspires the reader to seek more than what this world has to offer. To rise above mediocrity, achieving his or her true potential while staying focused on what really matters when the fame and excitement of the game fade with the sunset.”"
I had the opportunity to interview Aubrey Huff about his journey in baseball and why he decided to share his story.