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'Joe was the rock': Twins retire Mauer's No. 7 in Target Field ceremony

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Former Minnesota Twins star Joe Mauer
Former Minnesota Twins star Joe Mauer gives his father, Jake Mauer, a hug after throwing out the ceremonial first pitch prior to a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals on Saturday at Target Field in Minneapolis. Joe Mauer's No. 7 was retired during a pregame ceremony.
Stacy Bengs | AP

With his family, former teammates and fellow former Twins stars on hand, Minnesota Twins legend Joe Mauer's jersey No. 7 was retired Saturday night at a Target Field ceremony.

Mauer joins the likes of Harmon Killebrew, Tony Oliva and Kirby Puckett in having his number retired by the Twins.

"Wearing the No. 7 for the last 15 years has been my absolute pleasure," Mauer told the crowd, his voice getting emotional, "and being able to play my entire career in that number, in front of my family, friends and fans, here at home, means more to me than any of you will ever know."

Former Minnesota Twins star Joe Mauer
Former Minnesota Twins star Joe Mauer throws the opening pitch to his father Jake Mauer after his No. 7 was retired Saturday.
Stacy Bengs | AP

Mauer's address was preceded by video highlights of memorable moments of his life and career — on and off the field — and a speech by longtime teammate Justin Morneau.

"We had great teams that were like family in so many ways," Morneau said. "Joe was the rock, the ultimate combination of poise, character and talent."

Former Minnesota Twins star Joe Mauer
Former Minnesota Twins star Joe Mauer's jersey No. 7 is retired prior to a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals on Saturday.
Stacy Bengs | AP

During his career with the Twins, Mauer became the first catcher to win the American League batting title. He also won three AL batting crowns overall, was a six-time AL All-Star, earned five Silver Slugger Awards, three consecutive Rawlings Gold Glove Awards and was the AL Most Valuable Player in 2009.

Mauer played his last game with the Twins on Sept. 30, and officially retired on Nov. 9 last year.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz declared Saturday "Joe Mauer Day" in the state.