MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Many Twins fans left Target Field on Sunday with a bittersweet feeling as they watched their hometown hero close out his final game under the eight year, $184 million dollar contract.
Joe Mauer has been the face of the Twins organization for more than a decade, and now he faces the difficult decision about retirement.
“I’m not 100 percent sure,” Mauer said after the game on Sunday. “I want to make sure I have some time just to take a deep breath and really be behind that decision.”
And while no official announcement has been made, fans used the last game of his expiring contract to give the 15-year veteran a long deserved standing ovation as Mauer emerged from the Twins dugout in full catcher’s gear — a sight that fans haven’t seen in more than five years.
The Golden Boy
Joe Mauer was born in St. Paul, Minnesota on April 19, 1983. Mauer attended high school at Cretin-Derham Hall. It was there that his athletic ability started to receive national recognition.
Mauer was named as the states Gatorade 2001 Player of the Year in both baseball and football.
As quarterback for Cretin-Derham Hall, Mauer led his team to two state title games:
In his senior year, Mauer was offered a scholarship and verbally committed to play football at Florida State. He soon turned it down once the Minnesota Twins came knocking with the No. 1 overall pick in the MLB Draft.
First Round Draft Pick
Mauer batted over .500 in high school and famously only struck out once in four years. In his senior year, Mauer led his team to another state championship victory.
Check out the teen’s reaction after winning the 2001 state title:
Mauer’s best career year was 2009. He batted .365, with 28 home runs and 96 runs batted in. The Twins catcher was also named the American League’s Most Valuable Player of 2009, receiving 27 out of 28 votes by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
You can view stats from all 15 seasons here.
Eight Year Contract
After coming off his best season yet, the Minnesota Twins offered Mauer a long and lucrative extension in 2010 — an eight year contract for $184 million. The deal also included a no-trade clause, which guaranteed that the Minnesota native would remain close to home.
To this day, Joe Mauer’s contract remains one of the most expensive deals in Minnesota sports history.
In 2014, Joe Mauer switched positions mid-career from catcher to first baseman. Mauer suffered numerous season-ending injuries throughout his career, but the most notable setback was his concussion in 2013 that ultimately triggered the switch.
“I feel like I could go out there and catch every day right now,” said Mauer back in 2014. “But it’s not fair to myself, my family or the team if I get down to spring and the first day of pitcher’s BP I take one off the head and I miss half the year.”
Among Mauer’s many achievements, here are a few standouts:
- First catcher to win the American League batting title in 2006. Mauer went on to win the title two more times in 2008 and 2009.
- The American League’s Most Valuable Player of 2009.
- 6x American League All-Star Team Member
- 3 consecutive Gold Glove awards (2008-2010)
Throughout his entire MLB career, Mauer has only ever worn a Twins jersey.
For more than a decade, Twins fans have rallied behind No. 7 through the highs and lows of Mauer’s 15-year career in the American League. Now, with the 2018 season over and a contract expired, fans will anxiously wait to hear if their hometown hero has it in him for more.