When I think about the Minnesota Twins, Joe Mauer comes first to mind. Ever since I started following baseball as a kid (I’m a huge Brewer fan by the way) – he’s always been one to be on the headlines. I mean, how else can you imagine the perfect professional career? The man played, was drafted, and was a star for his hometown. He will forever be a Minnesota Twins Legend.
The Minnesota Twins will officially retire Joe Mauer’s number 7 jersey number at Saturday’s Night’s Game (already sold out) versus the Kansas City Royals. His number will be added to the list of players which already include Harmon Killebrew (3), Tony Oliva (6), Tom Kelly (10), Kent Hrbek (14), Bert Blyleven (28), Rod Carew (29), and Kirby Puckett (34). Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has declared Saturday, June 15th, 2019 as Joe Mauer Day throughout the state of Minnesota.
During his career with the Minnesota Twins, Joe Mauer was the first catcher to ever win the American League batting title. A man never quite known for his power, he was almost always on base, winning three batting crowns. He started off as a catcher early in his career, before injuries caught up to him and he moved up to first base as well as starting as designated hitter later on in his career.
The question is, now that Joe will have his number hanging among the greats at Target Field, will he make the MLB Hall of Fame? If I ever had a ballot to vote, and I wish I did… Here’s why I feel he should make it in.
1. I believe Joe Mauer’s success and the influence he had on the game of baseball and his teammates is one of the reasons why baseball stayed in Minnesota. Prior to Target Field being built, the Twins played at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, sharing the home with the Minnesota Vikings. The Metrodome gave the Twins a great home-field advantage but it was never the ideal stadium for a baseball game. Around the time Joe Mauer was starting his career, Major League Baseball was considering disbanding the Twins & the Montreal Expos (now Washington Nationals due to financial issues. Joe Mauer was a key part of the success that the Twins were having in the mid-2000s that helped keep them in town. I was at both games of the Twins/Brewers series at Target Field in late May, and I have to bet that of all of the Twins shirts and jerseys I saw, the name Mauer “7” showed on the back of at least half of them. The man helped keep the team in the Twin Cities.
2. I think his resume speaks for itself after starting out as a catcher early in his career. Joe Mauer was one of the most feared hitters in baseball and has a great defensive tool that made up his profile.
Joe Mauer – Baseball Resume:
- 15 Year Career with the Minnesota Twins (2004-2018.) Drafted 1st Overall in 2001 by MIN out of Cretin-Derham Hall HS (MN)
- 6X All-Star (2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013)
- 5X Silver Slugger (2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013)
- 3X Gold Glove (2008, 2009, 2010)
- 3X Batting Champion (2006, 2008, 2009)
Minnesota Twins, Seasons of Success:
- 4x AL Central Division Championships:
- 2004 (92-70), Lost to the New York Yankees in the ALDS 3-1
- 2006 (96-66), Lost to the Oakland Athletics in the ALDS 3-0
- 2009 (87-76), Lost to the New York Yankees in the ALDS 3-0
- 2010 (94-68), Lost to the New York Yankees in the ALDS 3-0
- 1 AL Wild Card Appearance:
- 2017 (85-77), Lost to the New York Yankees
Career Batting Statistics:
Granted, Mauer never led Minnesota to the World Series or even the American League Championship Series, getting ousted by the Bronx Bombers. But Mauer was a key part of the Twinkies success throughout those years. Team success throughout his career should also play a key part in whether he makes the Hall of Fame or not, and that in itself, is a measure that will differ amongst those who get a vote.
3. The JAWS Standard: For those who are unfamiliar with JAWS, JAWS stands for the Jaffe WAR Score System, which is a measure of Hall of Fame worthiness by comparing said players to all other players at their position who are already enshrined in the Hall of Fame, looking at all baseball statistics. It looks at the career WAR (Wins Above Replacement) averaged with their 7-year peak WAR. Here is a list of Catcher JAWS Leaders.
Joe Mauer is ranked 8th among current JAWS leaders, and among those notable ranked ahead of him: Johnny Bench, Mike Piazza, Yogi Berra. Those that are ranked ahead of Joe Mauer in terms of JAWS leaders are all in the Hall of Fame.
Joe Mauer is eligible for induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2023. Personally, I believe he has done more than enough to make a case for himself and is deserving of this honor. There is no doubt in my mind that he will go down as one of the greatest to ever play for the Minnesota Twins.
What do you think? Does Joe Mauer deserve a shot to be in Baseball’s Hall of Fame?