Final Week Of The Mauer Era? Let's Enjoy It
Image courtesy of Brad Rempel, USA TodayDid 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.
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
- 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
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