By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Usually reserved and private, Joe Mauer shared a heartfelt goodbye and thank you on Monday with Twins Territory.

After 15 seasons, the home town hero has officially retired.

“I want to thank you for taking a chance on a St. Paul kid back in 2001. I never wanted to play anywhere else. It’s been a true honor to wear one jersey all those years,” Mauer said. “I’m going to raise my kids here. My family is here, born and raised. I was a Twins fan before I was a Twin, and I’m going to be a Twins fan after I’m done being a player.”

Mauer is a six-time All-Star and 2009 American League MVP. He’s the only catcher in Major League Baseball history with three batting titles.

WCCO Archive: Mauer Family Preps For Joe’s 1st Twins Game

The St. Paul native says the decision to walk away was not easy, but it came down to his health and family. Joe’s prepared speech didn’t reflect on his career, it was a long list of thank yous.

He got emotional when speaking about family and close friends.

It seems like he just got here. The baseball world bid farewell to Joe Mauer’s playing career on Monday, but anyone that knows Joe knows it started long before the baseball world knew him, with his family.

It was about baseball. But Monday was really about so much more. St Paul and the Mauer family go hand-in-hand.

“Mom and Dad, thank you so much for always believing in me, for sitting at my countless games and tournaments. You both made it a priority to be there throughout my whole career. You’ve help keep me grounded and never forget my roots,” Mauer said.

Been there since day one. Seen it all, even to the end.

“Pretty exciting, a little emotional. But it was a good run, 15 years in the bigs for a little kid from Minnesota. Not bad,” Jake Mauer, Joe’s father, said.

The youngest of three brothers, all had a shot with the Twins.

“It’s pretty amazing that three brothers from Minnesota all at one point put on the Twins uniform and I’ll always be thankful that we were able to share that together,” Joe Mauer said.

He was the product of a family, one that learned how to compete.

“It just kind of boils down to when we were little kids, and that was the biggest thing with our dad, he just tried to teach us how to compete and just how to battle and I think he did that,” Jake Mauer Jr., Joe’s brother, said.

And now he becomes Joe the father, with a third child expected any day, and a husband to a girl he went to high school with at Cretin Derham Hall.

“To Maddie, I’m not sure I have the right words to express my gratitude, my admiration or my love for you,” Joe said.

Yes, the kid became a man before our eyes. never loud or controversial, he stayed the course.

“A little bit generic and vanilla in terms of class and respect and all those type of things, but in Joe’s case, all very real,” former Twins Manager Paul Molitor said.

Joe’s grandfather is credited with making sure he batted left-handed.

Mike Max

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