On Friday, it was made official that Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer was retiring after 15 major league seasons.
Joe Mauer will go down as one of the best catchers of all time and is undoubtedly one of, if not the best player in the history of the Twins, finishing as the team’s all-time leader in hits. Mauer, a Minnesota native, was taken first overall in the 2001 MLB Draft by the Twins and played his entire career for them.
Mauer was no stranger to collecting accolades over the course of his illustrious career. He was a 6-time All-Star, a 5-time silver slugger, a 3-time gold glover, 3-time batting champion, and the 2009 American League MVP.
His three year stretch from 2008 to 2010, Mauer was perhaps the best all pure hitter in baseball, as he averaged a .340/.419/.502 slash line. He was so good that in 2010, the Twins signed him to an 8 year, $148 million dollar extension, with the intention of keeping him a Twin for life.
Mauer’s accomplishments speak for themselves, and cemented himself as possibly the best catcher of our generation, although Yadier Molina is trying his damndest to stake his claim for that title. It’s a shame that concussions shortened his time behind the plate, as he was clipped by multiple pitches in a game in 2013, which ended up costing him 2 months, and was the catalyst for his move to first base for the rest of his career. As it turns out, Concerns about concussions was ultimately the deciding factor for his retirement, with Mauer saying in a heartfelt letter the Minnesota fans.
“Experiencing a concussion looks different for everyone, by my personal experience forced me to look beyond baseball at what is best for me as a husband and father.”
It sucks, because, by all accounts, Mauer was one of the most genuine and nicest guys in the game. He was an athlete we’ve rarely seen from the catcher’s position and a once-in-a-generation hitter at his peak.
His final game was perfectly executed. He took the field to play first, and all the Twins stayed in the dugout in order to let Mauer have his moment with the fans, and was then met by his two daughters. Mauer would slice a double to the left-center field gap in what turned out to be his last career at-bat; a fitting way to end as he was largely a slap hitter for his career. Finally, he got to be behind the plate for one final time, as he donned the catcher’s gear in the ninth, caught one pitch, and was taken out to a standing ovation.
Well wishes to Joe Mauer on his incredible, likely Hall of Fame career, and hopefully a happy retirement.
Photo By Carlos Gonzalez- Star Tribune