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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.

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41 Comments

For what team ?


For the team he is playing for, of course.

Good on ya, Joe Mauer.
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NapoleonComplex
Sep 25 2018 01:25 PM

I'm bringing my 1 year old son to the final game of the season this Sunday. If Mauer decides to retire, I want to tell my son that the first baseball game he attended was Joe Mauer's last. 

    • Seth Stohs, Twins33, bluechipper and 2 others like this

 

I'm bringing my 1 year old son to the final game of the season this Sunday. If Mauer decides to retire, I want to tell my son that the first baseball game he attended was Joe Mauer's last. 

Many years ago my son and I were at Twins spring training.Went to two games.We saw Kirby Puckett play during the first game.The next day he was in the lineup, then shortly before the game he was scratched.Little did anyone know that one of the greatest and most likeable Twins of all time would never again step on the field. 

 

Is Sunday Joe's last game?

I surely hope Joe doesn't drag this out although it would be fairly typical of him.Seems to me like this is a simple decision.Here is a player who is clearly well past his prime and has told the media that he felt the after affects of a concussion for THREE YEARS.Then he needed several weeks on the shelf again this year for a concussion.

 

The Twins owe Joe Mauer nothing.They made him rich, gave him the benefit of the doubt whenever necessary and praised him (even during times where it was not deserved).If Joe drags this out past Thanksgiving and his decision still isn't made by the time we approach winter meeting, I have a problem with that.We need to build a roster.Mauer has had all year to think this one through and there is no reason to be all wishy washy about it.If he is, and this drags out for a long period of time during the offeason, he is doing the Twins a disservice.I hope to heck he understands that although I have my doubls.Joe just kind of does Joe.  

 

And that is that.

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Hosken Bombo Disco
Sep 25 2018 02:52 PM

I surely hope Joe doesn't drag this out although it would be fairly typical of him.Seems to me like this is a simple decision.Here is a player who is clearly well past his prime and has told the media that he felt the after affects of a concussion for THREE YEARS.Then he needed several weeks on the shelf again this year for a concussion.
 
The Twins owe Joe Mauer nothing.They made him rich, gave him the benefit of the doubt whenever necessary and praised him (even during times where it was not deserved).If Joe drags this out past Thanksgiving and his decision still isn't made by the time we approach winter meeting, I have a problem with that.We need to build a roster.Mauer has had all year to think this one through and there is no reason to be all wishy washy about it.If he is, and this drags out for a long period of time during the offeason, he is doing the Twins a disservice.I hope to heck he understands that although I have my doubls.Joe just kind of does Joe.  
 
And that is that.

Straight from the heart.
    • Vanimal46 and SF Twins Fan like this
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Battle ur tail off
Sep 25 2018 02:53 PM

Yah, I'm sure we need to be real worried about building a roster. Dump heap signings and youngs guys with C level talent? If the Twins are serious, they fire Molitor the day after the WS, buy the best Manager available and sign Manny Machado. 

 

They won't do either and will sit on their hands until all of the good guys are traded away or signed to teams that want to win. 

 

Let Mauer have his time. If he decides to come back, who is getting knocked out because of it? Some AAAA player? Not a big deal.

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yarnivek1972
Sep 25 2018 03:16 PM

I'm bringing my 1 year old son to the final game of the season this Sunday. If Mauer decides to retire, I want to tell my son that the first baseball game he attended was Joe Mauer's last.

Mauer usually doesn’t play Sundays.

Of course, the DH Friday and the lack of healthy position players makes it pretty likely that he will.

 

Yah, I'm sure we need to be real worried about building a roster. Dump heap signings and youngs guys with C level talent? If the Twins are serious, they fire Molitor the day after the WS, buy the best Manager available and sign Manny Machado. 

 

They won't do either and will sit on their hands until all of the good guys are traded away or signed to teams that want to win. 

 

Let Mauer have his time. If he decides to come back, who is getting knocked out because of it? Some AAAA player? Not a big deal.

I think if the Twins are serious, they'll find someone else to play first base.

 

 

    • Mike Sixel and ChrisKnutson like this
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yarnivek1972
Sep 25 2018 03:37 PM

I think if the Twins are serious, they'll find someone else to play first base.


They need to find someone else to play first base whether or not Mauer comes back. This is his fifth season as the primary first baseman. He has played more than 100 games at first in a season just twice in those five years.
    • USAFChief and notoriousgod71 like this

 

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.

Just to go on a complete side tangent,(sorry for breaking forum rules) this is my argument of why the NL needs a DH. Think of how much it sucks for the number 8 hitter. You're already the worst hitter on your team and you're being protected by the pitcher.

Otherwise, seeing Joe's last games is a great reason to watch the end of what has been a terrible season.

    • SF Twins Fan likes this
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yarnivek1972
Sep 25 2018 04:06 PM

Just to go on a complete side tangent,(sorry for breaking forum rules) this is my argument of why the NL needs a DH. Think of how much it sucks for the number 8 hitter. You're already the worst hitter on your team and you're being protected by the pitcher.
Otherwise, seeing Joe's last games is a great reason to watch the end of what has been a terrible season.


I think MLB would be better off eliminating the DH altogether. But, as you said, a discussion for another thread.
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notoriousgod71
Sep 25 2018 06:06 PM

 

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 think you missed a step after 2 in order to make 3 a possibility...

    • twinssporto likes this
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notoriousgod71
Sep 25 2018 06:09 PM

 

 

I'm bringing my 1 year old son to the final game of the season this Sunday. If Mauer decides to retire, I want to tell my son that the first baseball game he attended was Joe Mauer's last. 

 

If it turns out Mauer isn't in the lineup or doesn't retire you can always tell your son that his first game was Johnny Fields's last.

    • Twins33, NapoleonComplex, spycake and 3 others like this

 

Straight from the heart.

I am a Twins fan first.

 

I don't see where signing Joe to hang on a little longer is a good thing on several different levels.Not for the Twins, not for Joe or his family.

    • Mike Sixel and notoriousgod71 like this

Taking from the title of this thread "Let's Enjoy It"

 

am not going to do any analysis of whether he should come back or not (think there are enough other threads for that, but just going to enjoy the week.Glad he was able to reach a few more milestones at the end (including tonight.He has really seemed toappreciate some of these moments (which does tend to make me think this might be it). 

 

I know a lot of people don't think he has been a good leader, but this past year there have been a few comments from teammates where I have really gotten the impression that they respect him and there could be a lot worse examples in the club t house than him.

 

    • Mike Sixel likes this
My belief is that Mauer will retire. From a baseball standpoint (aside from family), here’s why:

- No chance to compete next year

- ZERO belief in the current FO

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