02-19-2014, 11:28 PM #1
Mackey: Mentioning Mauer with Puckett... Sacrilege?
This article is worth reading, all the way through. Phil Mackey brought up the topic of Joe Mauer being better than Kirby Puckett on his show on 1500espn radio today. The comment was met with a lot of outrage and disagreement from listeners.
I tend to agree with Mackey. I don't know if I can put Mauer quite ahead of Puckett yet, and most likely for sentimental reasons, but Mauer is absolutely in the discussion.
Here is how I would rank the Top Minnesota Twins players in their 50+ years in Minnesota.
Killebrew, Carew, Puckett, Mauer, Oliva, Hrbek..
What are your thoughts?
02-20-2014, 01:41 AM #2
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Pretty much agree. Only argument might be Oliva. WHen he came up, he was the Buxton of his age. Ceiling was Willie Mays. And when you watched him the first few years, he was the real deal. Then he got hurt. Badly. He was still an all-star, but not the same player. And eventually he just had to give it up. So how do you rank a guy like that? If we look at what he accomplished his first few years, he'd be at the top of my list. If you look at how he averaged out over time because of the injury, I'd put him where you did--or maybe ahead of Mauer, with the understanding that Mauer is still active and may end up being rated higher.
You can make a little bit of the same argument for Puckett, but Puckett got to play many more years healthy than Oliva did, and when he was hurt, he was done immediately. Had he played a long time, he too could have had arguments for being first on the list, but given where he ended up, I'd put him where you did.
02-20-2014, 02:48 AM #3
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Killebrew, Carew, Puckett, Mauer, Oliva, Hrbek..
I personally think Kirby is #1, I'm fairly young, and I caught Kirby in the second half of his career, I remember a little bit of the '91 Series, and I may be a little bais, because I didn't see the first two play, but Kirby was the best player on the '91 team and top 2 or 3 on the '87 team, two championships, and plaed a major role in both, and all due respect to Carew, and Killebrew, Kirby played a premium defensive position, and played it very well. And yes Mauer is in the conversation, but those top three still have the upper hand. I like Mauer a bunch, and think he is probably headed for a career year in mutiple offensive catagories, but let's et the man continue to be great and reexmine this a couple years from now.
02-20-2014, 03:15 AM #4
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Injuries and illness have robbed many players for the Twins from a career they could have had.
Morneau got the concussion and was never the same. You couldn't say it was going to last a whole career, but if it had there would be a 3 way conversation about the third best all time Twin. Lyman Bostock was developed by the Twins. Not an illness, but he was in the wrong spot at the wrong time. Santana and the shoulder. Plenty of players who spent a significant portion of the careers as a Twin had their careers derail.
Bert go anywhere on your list?
Killebrew and Carewshould be at the top. If or when Mauer has a career of 15 years plus at the top of the game he can be considered for best of all time.
Puckett versus Mauer. I don't think it is time yet to judge Mauer
Last edited by old nurse; 02-20-2014 at 03:22 AM.
02-20-2014, 05:37 AM #5
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Listening to Mackey today was dusturbing, but he somewhat redeemed himself with that article. Puckett IS a legend. His postseason resume alone puts him above Mauer.
People defend Mauer's postseason resume because he got screwed by Phil Cuzzi. One play. And it had nothing to do with the outcome of the game. The Twins loaded the bases that inning with nobody out and still managed not to score. Puckett was an iron man. Mauer is made of glass. And there's $23 million reasons why people expect more out of him than he's currently giving.
Hrbek's nowhere near the top for me because he ate himself out of the league and wasted a very special talent.
Last edited by Marta Shearing; 02-20-2014 at 05:42 AM.
02-20-2014, 06:29 AM #6
I think that ranking an active player in a list of retired players or comparing his career to that of retired players is a bit premature. Mackey's point had a lot to do with perceptions about being a leader and a clubhouse presence. Also, if you are the best player in a team that has won 2 World Series you will be perceived better than if you are the best player in a team that should have done it but was not good enough to do it (regardless whether it was Mauer's fault, and it was not.) You cannot forget '87 and '91...
As far as the retired players' career rankings go, if you count Carew's seasons away from the Twins he has to be on top.-----
Blogging Twins since 2007 at The Tenth Inning Stretch
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02-20-2014, 06:37 AM #7
I would probably say Kirby (largely due to the world series). However, I don't think the comparison deserved the outrage or is as crazy as a lot of the critics think. I think Kirby benefits from the passage of time and nostalgia from those World Series victories. That coupled with the premature abrupt end of his career and his early death lead people to mainly remember his highlights and create a legendary image compared to someone who they can still watch everyday and criticize every mistake in real time (and now with today's social media analyze to the extreme).
I also think some of Mauer's critics just cannot get past the contract. It is a factor of what should be expected, but some people use that to the extreme have some unrealistic expectations of what he should be producing. Anything less than 2009 is a failure.
It will be interesting to see what the comparison will be 20 years from now when some of the people debating the question were kids growing up watching Mauer play and Kirby was more of a historical figure. I think we tend to elevate players who we were excited to watch as kids.
Last edited by D. Hocking; 02-20-2014 at 07:00 AM.
02-20-2014, 07:10 AM #8
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The contract is irrelevant to me. Even if someone wants to include contract considerations, Puckett had one of the top contracts in the game once he got to free agency (I believe he had the highest salary in baseball for just a few days, but was in the top group for a while).
02-20-2014, 08:31 AM #9
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Mauer is one of the best catchers in the history of the game. If he's good as a 1B for the next 5 years, he's a lock for the HoF. I find it baffling that people would be "outraged" by this comparison. Frankly, Mauer is better at the on field stuff than Puckett. He's not the personality or obvious leader, but he's better.
PuckettLighten up Francis....
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02-20-2014, 08:45 AM #10
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This is a pivotal year for Mauer; the position change will give him an opportunity to put up Carew type numbers. If he does this, or even close, there shouldn't be any question again.
I hope to still be around in a decade to hear who Buxton and Sano are compared to.
02-20-2014, 09:00 AM #11
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Post-season heroics are enough for most people to say Puckett easily tops Mauer. But he was a cold starter in playoffs series. If the rest of his team had performed in the post-season like Mauer's Twins did I think Puckett is looked at differently.
In games 1 through 4 of all his playoff series, Puckett hit .227/.278/.424 with 1 HR and 7 RBI. Over games 5 through 7, he hit .457/.500/.714. Mauer never got a chance to hit in games 5 through 7.
02-20-2014, 09:01 AM #12
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02-20-2014, 10:42 AM #13
Puckett hit the home run in Game 6 because he was an awesome baseball player, not because of brash vocal statements.
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02-20-2014, 11:08 AM #14
Killebrew, Carew, Mauer, Puckett, Olivia, Santana, Bleyleven, Hrbek
Puckett is my all time favorite player ever, however IMO Mauer has already surpassed him.
Mauer is already one of the best 3 or 4 catchers of all time, Puckett was/is a definite hall of famer, but not even close to one of the best CF of all time.
Mauer plays a harder position, and significantly beats Puckett in Avg, OBP, OPS, OPS+. Mauer has 3 batting titles vs Puckett's 1. 1 MVP (should have been 2) vs 0. Puckett has the advantage in All Star games and home runs. At this point I think Mauer has proven to be a better player then Puckett in his 9(ish) years.
Assuming Mauer has another 3-4 great years hitting wise followed by 2-3 good years, I think he surpasses Carew as well and becomes the 2nd greatest player in Franchise History."You miss 100% of the shots you don't take"- L. Harvey Oswald
02-20-2014, 11:19 AM #15
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I think this is probably right - Carew, Killer, Puck/Mauer, Oliva, Blyleven, Santana, Radke, Hrbek, Knoblauch or Alison.
That said, if you were growing up in MN in the 80s, no one is better than Puck. Still my favorite player.
02-20-2014, 11:46 AM #16
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02-20-2014, 11:53 AM #17
02-20-2014, 11:55 AM #18
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Mauer is the better player. I loved Kirby! I was at Cooperstown for his HOF INduction and at the Metrodome for his funeral. The arguments for Mauer are objective where as the arguments for Puckett are subjective.
1. Puckett was tougher- Puckett also wasn't a Catcher.
2. Puckett was a better leader- This might be true (I've never been in the Twins Clubhouse), yet you do have to wonder how much this narrative shifts if not for Kent Hrbek's Grand-Slam in 87 or the Lonnie Smith baserunning gaffe in 1991.
3. Puckett has more power- This is also true, but it ignores that Mauer has a 45 point edge in OBP. The ratio of value is something like 1.8 points of slugging percentage are equal to 1 point of OBP.
4. Mauer's Contract- Complaining about this is the height of foolishness. People are complaining about the Twins resigning a
A. Hometown Kid
B. Three Time Batting Champ
C. Player with a Hall of Fame Trajectory.
If people honestly believe Joe Mauer shouldn't be resigned considering these factors, they probably should just as well of supported the contraction of the Franchise.
Mackey's writing is such that he seems to view the Pro-Puckett arguments as ulitmately weak, but doesn't want to have to defend Mauer too hard.
02-20-2014, 12:07 PM #19
Seems like there's about 37 different questions being asked and answered here: who is the better player? Who is the most valuable player? Who was best leader? who is the most skilled player? and so on.
In terms of pure physical gifts, Puckett or Killebrew can't possibly be considered among the top 10 Twins, but Mauer is definitely in the top 3.
In terms of the value/leadership he has provided to his team in making a run at a championship or whatever, Puckett and Killer are probably 1 and 2, and Mauer might not make my top 10 list. Not knocking him, but team wise, aside from 2006, he just hasn't been a part of anything special.
There you go - another guys opinion
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02-20-2014, 12:23 PM #20
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