Joe Mauer's Perfect Ending
Minnesota Twins™ legend Joe Mauer hasn’t officially announced he is going to retire next year, but many speculate that he will. If in fact Mauer does decide to hang up his cleats, he couldn’t have asked for a better send off than the Twins™ gave him during their last game of the 2018 season.
Mauer was drafted #1 overall straight out of high school by the Twins™ in 2001. He made his MLB® debut in 2004. Over his illustrious 15-year career, Mauer racked up some pretty amazing accomplishments. In 2006 he became the first catcher to win the AL batting title by hitting .347, a title he went on to win in 2008 (.328) and 2009 (.365) as well. Mauer also won the AL MVP in 2009 and in a 3 year stretch from 2008 – 2010 he won the Golden Glove for being the best defensive catcher. Mauer also racked up 5 silver slugger awards and 6 All – Star game appearances over the span of his career. He is widely regarded as one of the best offensive catchers of all time. If today was Mauer’s last MLB® game, he will have finished with some impressive stats including a .306 batting average, 2,123 hits, 428 doubles, and 923 RBIs.
On Sunday, September 30, the Twins™ wrapped up their season with a 5 – 4 victory over the Chicago White Sox. Although the game meant nothing in regard to the post season, it will be forever be one of the greatest games many fans have ever attended at Target Field™. Fans in attendance got to see what could possibly have been the picture-perfect ending of Joe Mauer’s playing career.
Before the start of the game, Mauer’s daughters ran out onto the field to greet him and stand with him during the national anthem. Hitting leadoff, Mauer received a standing ovation from the crowd during his first at bat. During his last at bat of the game, he hit a 3 – 2 ball to the opposite field, narrowly beating the throw to second base.
Head injuries made Mauer move from behind the plate to first base, but he’s always missed the feeling of being a catcher. The Twins™ gave him just that when they put him behind the plate for the first time since 2013. Mauer caught just one pitch at the top of the 9th but he’ll remember it for the rest of his life. He came out to huge cheers and another standing ovation from everybody in attendance. Both the umpires and the White Sox™ let Mauer enjoy this moment, recognize the crowd, and tip his cap before getting into position. After one pitch from Matt Belisle, Mauer went out to the mound, hugged Belisle and left the field.
Mauer stayed in the gear until after the game ended and joked that they were going to have a hard time getting it off him. In his emotional post game interview, Mauer thanked the fans, said he was undecided about the future, and reinforced the idea that he never wants to take the Twins™ uniform off.
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