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Final Week Of The Mauer Era? Let's Enjoy It

Starting tonight, the Minnesota Twins will play seven games over the next six days at Target Field to conclude their 2018 season.

Is it possible that this week might be the last week that Twins fans get to watch Joe Mauer play in his illustrious MLB career?
Image courtesy of Brad Rempel, USA Today
Did you have a chance to watch any of the highlights from Detroit this past weekend? Victor Martinez announced several weeks ago that 2018 would be his final season as an MLB player. Over the weekend, the Tigers played their final games at Comerica Park.

The Tigers and Martinez announced earlier in the week that Martinez would be playing on Friday and Saturday. On Saturday, Martinez beat out an infield single and was removed from the game for a pinch runner.

Emotion ensued.



Staring at my computer monitor through water-logged eyes, my first thought turned to the Twins and Joe Mauer. My response to that video on Twitter was:

“Why I want Joe Mauer to let people know if he is going to retire...
Why Joe Mauer probably won't let us know when he's going to retire...”

Earlier in the month, Mauer told the Star-Tribune that he will think about his future after the season is complete. In other words, we most likely won’t know until after Sunday’s season finale whether or not Joe Mauer will play again in 2019.

If this is indeed the final week of Joe Mauer’s playing career, Minnesota Twins fans should come out in droves to watch this generation’s best Twins player. If you can’t get to Target Field, hopefully you will be able to watch on TV, or listen on the radio.

With his next hit or walk or the next time he is hit by a pitch, Joe Mauer will pass Harmon Killebrew for most Times on Base in Minnesota Twins history.

Harmon Killebrew - 3,072
Joe Mauer - 3,072
Kirby Puckett - 2,810
Rod Carew - 2,718
Kent Hrbek - 2,613

Here is where Mauer ranks on the all-time Twins list in a variety of categories:

Games Played (1,851) - 2nd (Killebrew)
Plate Appearances (7,927) - 2nd (Killebrew)
Runs (1,009) - 3rd (Killebrew, Puckett)
Hits (2,112) - 2nd (Puckett)
Doubles (426) - 1st
Home Runs (143) - 11th
RBI (921) - 5th
Walks (935) - 2nd (Killebrew)

And among Twins with 2,000 or more plate appearances, he ranks:

Batting Average (.306) - 4th (Carew, Puckett, Mack)
On-Base Percentage (.388) - 3rd (Carew, Knoblauch)

From the time he was drafted by the Twins with the #1 overall pick in the 2001 draft out of Cretin-Derham Hall, Joe Mauer was destined for greatness.

Among the #1 overall picks, Joe Mauer has been one of the best in the draft’s 54-year history. According to Baseball-Reference’s Wins Above Replacement, Mauer ranks behind only some recent Hall of Famers and another who may get there someday:

117.8 - Alex Rodriguez
85.2 - Chipper Jones
83.8 - Ken Griffey, Jr.
54.9 - Joe Mauer
42.2 - Daryl Strawberry
42.1 - Adrian Gonzalez

What else?
  • Six All Star game appearances
  • Three Gold Gloves
  • Five Silver Sluggers
  • 2009 MVP
  • Four Top 10 finishes in MVP voting
  • Three batting titles (you may have heard that is rare for a catcher)
  • Two on-base percentage championships
While the career of Joe Mauer hasn’t been perfect, it’s been pretty great. Consider that he was hitting .324/.404/.476 (.880) with 35 doubles and 11 homers in 113 games when his career trajectory was altered by his concussion. As great as his career has been, one can’t help but wonder how great it might have been? Instead of being a Top 5 player in Twins history, he might be right at the top of the list.

And hey, if we’re going to go there, how might Mauer’s legacy have been altered had Phil Cuzzi accurately called a line drive down the left field line in Yankees Stadium an RBI double, rather than a foul ball.

Of course, beyond the baseball field, Mauer has been recognized for his philanthropy as well. His work with the Gillette Children’s Hospital has been incredible. He’s helped raise over $1 million for the hospital, but he and his wife Maddie are often found at the hospital visiting kids. And, I’m guessing I am not the only one reading this who has heard stories of Joe Mauer doing things without any publicity to help individuals or kids. Mauer was the Twins nominee for the 2018 Roberto Clemente Award.

There is no question that Joe Mauer will be a Twins Hall of Famer and no Twins player will ever wear the number Seven again.

Who knows? Mauer may come back for the 2019 season, and it’s possible he will chose to play beyond that. But just in case this is the end of the baseball road for Joe Mauer, hopefully Twins fans will take a step back and enjoy this final week of Twins baseball and maybe the final week of the Joe Mauer era.

Selfishly, I want to see Joe Mauer continue to play. I love watching him take at bats and move up the Twins all-time lists. I enjoy watching him at first base and his calm in clutch situations. I like watching all-time greats play. The other side of me says that it's always better to leave a year too early rather than a year too late. But, if he enjoys the game and whatever role he's playing, I hope he gets to go out on his own terms.


Hopefully this will be a week full of high fives and hand shakes, curtain calls and standing ovations.

  • mikelink45, PDX Twin, Platoon and 5 others like this

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41 Comments

Unfortunately, the massive contract it took to keep him coupled with his concussion issues moved him off of the position at which the contract held value to a more marginal position. The contract coupled with the stinginess of ownership was never able to surround Mauer with sufficient talent to create a contender.
It would be great to see Joe ride off into the sunset on a high note. Great article Seth
    • Carole Keller, Mike Sixel, Twins33 and 5 others like this
I hope he retires and enjoys life. It's doubtful he needs the money, and he certainly doesn't need to land hard diving for a ball and end up with more concussion symptoms. Whether he announces it now or later is, I am sure, a deeply personal matter. As for his contract? He earned every penny of it. The Twins competitive issues were never related to Joe Mauers contract. They were the result of an ownership, and a FO, that was more interested in bottom line success than with the teams position in the standings.
    • Carole Keller, Mike Sixel, Twins33 and 7 others like this

If he's quietly going out it would be in character and a refreshing contrast to some of the big shots who go super-ego in their entire last year; even getting the other teams to drop their defense to show how great they are.

I love Joe Mauer, but I am of the opinion that it's time to move on. As much as I have loved watching him play, I believe his name adds more value than his production at this point. He has great numbers w/RISP, but if you really stop and look at his total numbers, he hasn't been that good since April. 

 

With an fWAR that won't exceed 1.0 and a wRC+ of 95 at a replaceable position, it's probably time to face reality.

 

I'm as sad as you are, but there comes a time where you need to move forward. That time may have come.

    • Mike Sixel, mikelink45 and Minny505 like this

I don't think its a coincidence that Mauer did much better when he had a star supporting cast; primarily Justin Morneau along with Torii Hunter and maybe others. He obviously was not comfortable carrying the "star" load by himself. I still consider him an underachiever who relied totally on his natural ability. He had/has no desire to be a team leader and basically showed up for work. To Mauer, baseball literally was/is a "walk" in the park. (pun intended).

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Hosken Bombo Disco
Sep 25 2018 07:33 AM
I am going to miss Mauer anchoring first base.

Even with his declining production this season, I think he has more good offensive seasons in him and would be comfortable with him leading off another year.

The Twins are going to have to take a temporary step back at that position when he retires, certainly with the fielding.
    • SF Twins Fan likes this
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SF Twins Fan
Sep 25 2018 07:34 AM

 

I don't think its a coincidence that Mauer did much better when he had a star supporting cast; primarily Justin Morneau along with Torii Hunter and maybe others. He obviously was not comfortable carrying the "star" load by himself. I still consider him an underachiever who relied totally on his natural ability. He had/has no desire to be a team leader and basically showed up for work. To Mauer, baseball literally was/is a "walk" in the park. (pun intended).

 

This could literally be said about every single "great" player because that's how baseball works. If you're the only good hitter on the team then pitchers on other teams are going to pitch around you by throwing you junk or just straight up walking you.

    • Seth Stohs, Twins33, Danchat and 4 others like this

And hey, if we’re going to go there, how might Mauer’s legacy have been altered had Phil Cuzzi accurately called a line drive down the left field line in Yankees Stadium an RBI double, rather than a foul ball.


No difference, unfortunately. Keep in mind that Mauer followed that "foul double" with a single, so we really only lost 1 base. The next 2 batters singled too before we squandered the inning, so perhaps that 1 extra base would have led to 1 run -- but it was only the top of the inning, and Teixeira led off the bottom of the inning with a HR anyway, with 9th inning hero A-Rod on deck. The mostly likely outcome of a correct call by Cuzzi would have been a slightly longer Twins loss.

And even if the Twins somehow won that game, it would have only evened the series at 1-1. We still would have needed to win 2 of the next 3 to actually change the outcome of the series, which was going to be a virtual impossibility given how poorly we were hitting.

Terrible call, and rightly remembered and ridiculed -- but not a difference-maker.

I can't speak to his leadership ability, but he handled his entire career with poise and class, and I appreciated that.I wish my kids got to watch him play and watch Joe's example on how to respect the game.

    • Carole Keller, Seth Stohs, Mike Sixel and 6 others like this

 

I don't think its a coincidence that Mauer did much better when he had a star supporting cast; primarily Justin Morneau along with Torii Hunter and maybe others. He obviously was not comfortable carrying the "star" load by himself. I still consider him an underachiever who relied totally on his natural ability. He had/has no desire to be a team leader and basically showed up for work. To Mauer, baseball literally was/is a "walk" in the park. (pun intended).

 

He did better when he had a supporting cast because he hadn't had a brain injury yet at that point. I suppose having stars around him helped his counting stats somewhat, but they aren't what made him a three time batting champion.

    • Twins33, Platoon, SF Twins Fan and 1 other like this

I don't think its a coincidence that Mauer did much better when he had a star supporting cast; primarily Justin Morneau along with Torii Hunter and maybe others.


I think that Mauer and Morneau's prime ages/health overlapped is pretty much coicidence. Mauer was just fine in 2012-2013 without much of a supporting cast (Morneau was a shell of his former self by then), and when Morneau missed the ends of the 2009 and 2010 seasons, etc.
    • Minny505 likes this
I would like to add one thing. If one thinks that the Twins IF defense has some question marks now, see Polanco, Jorge, think what it will look like next year if MOY persists in his belief that Polanco is an MLB SS, and Mauer isn't their to retrieve 99% of those half hops he tosses over to first? :(
    • Twins33, SF Twins Fan and Jacks02 like this
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tarheeltwinsfan
Sep 25 2018 08:44 AM

I am going to celebrate Joe Mauer this week, whether he chooses to retire this season or not. He is a superb baseball player, a class act, an involved family man, and from all accounts, a good man. All of us should all be so lucky as to have that said about us when our time to "retire" comes. When he does retire from actively playing, I hope he remains part of the Twins family for a long time. Thanks for the memories, Joe, and best wishes for a long, healthy life.

    • Seth Stohs, Puckett34, Sconnie and 3 others like this

This is my theory: he knows what hes going to do, which I think is retire. He will tell Molitor before the last series (but probably not teammates). When (not if), he gets on base on 9/30, he is pulled for a pinch runner (like VMart). He gets a standing O.

 

Mauer doesnt want a big farewell tour or big fanfare, but he understands that the fans want their chance to say goodbye and thanks. 

 

Or I could be 100% wrong. who knows. 

 

He's the last remaining Twins player from my childhood... If it's the end I'm going to miss him. I don't see any current or future Twin playing 15+ years for this organization.
    • Twins33, Puckett34, SF Twins Fan and 1 other like this

I selfishly am hoping he returns for at least one more year.I fell this may be a "don't know what you got, 'til it's gone situation". Don't feel I've fully appreciated Joe Mauer's career until very recently. I was always more of a Morneau, Span, Johan, Thome kind of fan. Joe was just always...there.Steady.Not flashy.Taking walks.Hitting doubles instead of dingers.

 

My gut is telling me this is it.

 

Whenever it happens, I will be sad.

    • Twins33 and SF Twins Fan like this

Personally I hope he quits, I don't want to read about any more concussions and long term damage.

 

I wonder what Falvine wants?? Do they tell Joe we really don't want you back because we need to go with youth or do they say we need you, come back for one more year?? And how would that affect Joe's decision?

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Battle ur tail off
Sep 25 2018 09:56 AM

I don't want him to quit. I would however like to see him back here in a bench role. I think he still adds value to the team and I feel he has another good season or 2 in him. I think the deciding factor for him will be, does this team have a chance to win? He's looking at it now and seeing there is a pretty good chance the Twins are in it for another rebuild. If that's the case, he could and should retire. If management lets him know they are actually going to go out and do some wheeling and dealing to make a run at it, I could see him sticking around. 

    • SF Twins Fan likes this

 

I would like to add one thing. If one thinks that the Twins IF defense has some question marks now, see Polanco, Jorge, think what it will look like next year if MOY persists in his belief that Polanco is an MLB SS, and Mauer isn't their to retrieve 99% of those half hops he tosses over to first? :(

 

The data is pretty clear....there is very little difference in scooping ability between legit 1B......now they need to find a 1B (or Austin needs to field better).

 

Mauer, in his prime, was a treat to watch hit. I miss those days, and I hope he retires so he stays as healthy as he can be for him and his family.

Count me among those who want to see Joe back for another year.Hopefully, if he does decide this is it, he lets management know by the end of the World Series so they can plan accordingly for 2019.  

 

Whatever happens, I will be joining Seth and others watching this week of baseball and Joe.Hopefully, the Twins close it out with a couple series wins!

    • SF Twins Fan likes this
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Hosken Bombo Disco
Sep 25 2018 10:31 AM

The data is pretty clear....there is very little difference in scooping ability between legit 1B......now they need to find a 1B (or Austin needs to field better).
 
Mauer, in his prime, was a treat to watch hit. I miss those days, and I hope he retires so he stays as healthy as he can be for him and his family.

Where is that data? I would love to see it but have been too lazy to look for it.
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twinssporto
Sep 25 2018 10:48 AM

I'm going to write the final act for Joe Mauer.  

 

1. Joe signs for one more year and says he'll retire at the end of 2019

2. Joe plays some back up at 1B, DH and pinch hitter

3. Joe pinch hits in game 7 of the World Series next year and drives in the winning run.

 

Fun to think about...

 

I'm going to write the final act for Joe Mauer.  

 

1. Joe signs for one more year and says he'll retire at the end of 2019

2. Joe plays some back up at 1B, DH and pinch hitter

3. Joe pinch hits in game 7 of the World Series next year and drives in the winning run.

 

Fun to think about...

For what team ? 

    • jimmer and yarnivek1972 like this
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RaymondLuxuryYacht
Sep 25 2018 01:04 PM

I hope Joe Mauer does whatever Joe Mauer wants to do.Whatever he decides I will support him

    • Seth Stohs, Twins33, Vanimal46 and 1 other like this

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