Whether or not Joe Mauer is elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame is a question for another day — his candidacy will be considered for the first time this upcoming year — but on Friday, the Twins announced that one of the greatest to ever slip on their uniform will be immortalized in the team’s Hall of Fame this upcoming season.
The St. Paul native, who spent the entirety of his 15-year-major league career with the Twins, was voted in by a 70-member committee comprising current Twins Hall of Famers, media members and select front office personnel. His induction will take place on Aug. 5 when the Twins are host to the Arizona Diamondbacks at Target Field.
Upon his entry, Mauer will become just the 38th member of the team’s Hall of Fame.
“In my mind, this is just a pit stop Hall of Fame induction for Joe on his way to Cooperstown,” team president and CEO Dave St. Peter said.
The Cretin-Derham Hall graduate was selected by the Twins first overall in the 2001 amateur draft. He debuted at 20 years old, beginning a career that would see him become a six-time All-Star, win three Gold Gloves behind the plate, five Silver Slugger Awards and three American League batting titles. In 2009, he was named the AL Most Valuable Player for a season in which he hit .365 with a 1.031 OPS and a career-high 28 home runs.
After suffering multiple concussions, Mauer shifted from catcher to first base, spending the last five years of his career at his new position.
He retired at the conclusion of the 2018 season, finishing his career as a .306 hitter with 2,123 career hits. Mauer is first all-time among Twins with 428 doubles, second in games played, hits, walks and at-bats and third in runs scored and total bases. He is just one of nine former Twins players or managers to have his number (7) retired by the team.
This next offseason will mark five years since his retirement and the first time he is eligible to appear on the Hall of Fame ballot. At that point, a player must appear on 75 percent of ballots — long-tenured Baseball Writers Association of America members vote on the honor — to be elected. A player can remain on the ballot for up to 10 years as long as they appear on more than five percent of ballots in each voting period.
“I think Joe Mauer is a Hall of Famer. I think most of the experts believe that he is a Hall of Famer. I think the question is, is he a first ballot Hall of Famer?” St. Peter said. “Him being inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame creates a platform. We’ll see. I’m hopeful it’ll maybe carry some momentum into baseball writers nationally in December, January when they cast their votes (and) that we could find a way to Cooperstown for Joe’s induction in 2024.”
But before that vote happens, Mauer and the Twins have different Hall of Fame induction ceremony to look forward to. Mauer, who learned of the news a couple weeks ago in a phone call from Rod Carew, was able to share the news with his father, Jake, before he passed away on Jan. 17.
“Knowing the whole human being and what he represents and how he represents this region, I hope this is an honor that kind of reflects all of that,” president of baseball operations Derek Falvey said. “It’s not just about what he did on the field, which is tremendous. But it’s what he is, it’s who he is as a person and who he is as ambassador for the Twin Cities, for Minnesota, for Twins baseball and hopefully for his whole family.”