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Article: A Milestone For Minnesota And Mauer

minnesota twins joe mauer kirby puckett dick bremer
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#1 Ted Schwerzler

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Posted 12 April 2018 - 04:00 PM

As Joe Mauer eyes his 2,000 hit, the Minnesota Twins, the state of Minnesota, and the man himself will have delivered a monumental milestone not to be taken lightly. While it’s the 3,000 hit club that all but guarantees enshrinement in Cooperstown, Joe will become just the 288th player ever to reach the 2,000 hit mark (of the 18,013 players to appear in a game per Fangraphs). Being a one-percenter, Joe not only shows us the greatness that is, but also helps us to appreciate the greatness that was.In a Twins broadcast early during the 2018 major league baseball season, Dick Bremer stopped and offered a comment to his partner Bert Blyleven. He noted that with Joe getting close to such a monumental mark, he will definitely make sure to give the achievement its due. Carrying more weight than those words themselves, Bremer noted that the reasoning behind it was him having called Kirby Puckett’s 2,000 hit. The last Twins great to eclipse the 2,000 mark was well on his way to 3,000 and it seemed all but a foregone conclusion. Given that we know how that story ended, Bremer’s purpose was to never again overlook something that could take a lifetime to repeat itself.

Having grown up on the Metrodome, and eventually settling into Target Field, Joe Mauer is as synonymous with Minnesota baseball as Puckett himself was. While Kirby was the Chicago native who the state embraced as the every-man type player, Joe is the milk-drinking, yeah-sure-you-betcha type who has shown that talent is best utilized when forced to work hard. He’s the only catcher ever to win three batting titles, he’s got an MVP award to his name, and there was a time that looked as if Mauer would be looking up only at a man named Bench.

Although Puckett’s great injury took away the game he had made a career of, Joe’s sapped him out of a position he’d revolutionized. Despite having to relearn the game at the age of 31 from an entirely new position, Mauer took it all in stride. He’s no doubt heard the unfair criticisms regarding his pay or availability, and yet there’s been no slowdown in regard to the way he attacks each opportunity.

After trudging through three years of disappointment, Mauer returned to a form he had once patented. Tallying 412 hits from 2014-2016, Joe put up a 160 hit season in 2017, and donned a shiny .305 batting average. Having played 141 games, it seemed the a regular mix of rest as well as exploiting ideal opportunities, were a solid recipe for success as he continued into his twilight years.

We don’t have any idea what’s left for Joe Mauer at this point in his career. He’ll be a free agent at season’s end, and despite it seeming like there’s more in the tank (and potentially a Gold Glove or two left on the table), it will come down to whatever decision he feels is best for his family. Should Joe return and give this organization a few more years, it’s more than likely he’d eclipse the 2,304 hits Kirby currently can claim as the team record. We’ve been down this road before however, and the reality is that nothing is ever guaranteed, and looking on to the next great thing generally has us missing what’s right in front of us.

I’m sure Dick Bremer will be cracking a wide smile as he exuberantly exclaims that Joe has done it. It may come on the heels of a two-hit night, in the midst of a 10- game hitting streak. It may also not come until the weather decides to cooperate with the game of baseball. No matter when it comes though, the man in the booth, the one standing on the base and the guy up above will probably all know that this moment is something special.

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#2 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 12 April 2018 - 04:29 PM

Wouldn't he have to be in the top 180 to be a one percenter?
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#3 ewen21

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Posted 12 April 2018 - 05:39 PM

 

Wouldn't he have to be in the top 180 to be a one percenter?

 

He rounded down

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#4 Borealis

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Posted 12 April 2018 - 06:01 PM

Thanks for the write up Ted! It seems Mauer is still under appreciated at times, so these kind of articles are like a breath of fresh air. People can debate his composite value until the end of time, but the long and the short of it is that the Twins lineup is better with Joe in it. Both Gardy and Molitor have said the offense flows thru Joe. If you don’t care for those opinions, go ask Verlander. Joe was the only guy to put fear into that normally fearless stud of a pitcher the other night. These kind of things don’t always show up in the box score, but dang well catch my attention as a fan!
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#5 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 12 April 2018 - 06:26 PM

Great write-up, Ted. It lends weight to a career that far too few Minnesotans appreciate.
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#6 Matthew Lenz

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Posted 12 April 2018 - 07:01 PM

I missed Bremer's remark, but that's awesome.Can't take anything for granted.

 

Good article, Ted!

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#7 hugelycat

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Posted 12 April 2018 - 09:36 PM

Thanks Ted, great article. Mauer is a truly special player.

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