It’s been three years since Aubrey Huff retired from the game of baseball, but Huff (who recently enlisted the Ballengee Group as his new agency) is now seeking a return to the Major Leagues, as Jordan Zirm of Stack Velocity Sports Performance details.
Huff, now 38, candidly opens up about the social anxiety and depression issues that drove him from the game following a 2012 season in which he abruptly left the team due to his battle with anxiety. “I went on the disabled list right then and there, and I was never the same again,” Huff said. “I lost my starting job. I was quiet in the clubhouse, in the corner the entire second half of the season. I was a ghost. It was in the papers. People knew I was dealing with anxiety. I was on Xanax, the whole nine yards.” While people frequently comment to him that it must’ve been nice to walk away from the game as a champion — Huff’s Giants won the World Series in 2010 and again in his final season, 2012 — Huff now admits to being “miserable” that season, as he felt that baseball was at the root of his depression problems.
In the interview with Zirm, Huff sounds every bit the part of a man with a new lease on life that would relish in the opportunity to go out on his own terms. He’s worked extensively to get himself back into shape and to rehabilitate a chronic hip ailment. As Zirm writes, after walking with a limp for more than two years, Huff’s rehab has caused the injury to “completely dissipate.” Huff’s trainer, Jason Huntley, told him at the beginning of the rehab process that the goal was to get him feeling better than he ever has, both physically and mentally. “I just wanted somebody else to say it where it didn’t sound crazy to me,” Huff recalled. “It triggered something in me, and I said, let’s do it.”
Huff’s resurgent 2010 campaign after a poor showing in 2009 was one of the keys to the Giants’ World Series victory that year, as he rebounded with a .290/.385/.506 batting line and 26 homers in his first year with San Francisco. That led to a new two-year contract that saw diminished results and eventually led to Huff’s departure from the game.
When at his best, Huff was a feared slugger — four times topping 25 homers and averaging 23 long balls per 162 games over the course of his 13 years in the Majors despite poor results in 2009 and in his final two Major League seasons. All told, he currently sports a very strong .278/.342/.464 batting line and 242 homers between the Rays, Orioles, Giants, Astros and Tigers. Huff’s goal is to get back to the Majors and work his way into an everyday role, even though he recognizes that teams won’t be lining up to sign a 38-year-old on the heels of a three-year absence from the Majors.
Still, Huff wants to prove to himself that he’s capable and also give inspiration to others. “The biggest thing for me is to inspire people,” said Huff in a YouTube video chronicling his comeback efforts. “Because millions and millions of people live with anxiety and depression throughout their life. If they can see a guy that’s went through it publicly 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.”