Joe Mauer already is a Minnesota Twins legend.
But on Saturday night, it'll become official. Mauer, his family, a collection of former teammates and thousands of fans are set to watch the hometown baseball hero's jersey No. 7 join the ranks of retired numbers at Target Field.
It'll take place at a pre-game ceremony at 6 p.m., ahead of the sold-out Twins game against the Kansas City Royals.
Mauer's uniform number will be added among the ranks of Minnesota Twins players such as Harmon Killebrew's No. 3, Kent Hrbek's No. 14 and Kirby Puckett's No. 34. He will be the eighth Twins player to have his number retired by the organization.
"To have my number up there next to those guys, you know — it's hard to search for the right words how much that means to me," said Mauer, who spent his entire 15-year major-league career with the Twins before retiring last fall.
Mauer spoke on Friday at Target Field, where he and other local athletes hosted the fourth annual Mauer and Friends Kids Classic. The event, held in partnership with Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare, gave 25 kids and their families the chance to participate in activities on the field with athletes such as the Minnesota Wild's Zach Parise, Minnesota United's Brent Kallman and the Minnesota Vikings' Adam Thielen. In addition to Mauer, former Twins players including Justin Morneau, Johan Santana and Jim Thome were also at the event.
"There was no better teammate (than Mauer)," Thome said. "There was no finer gentleman in the game that carried himself how you're supposed to carry it."
Mauer reflected on coming back to Target Field, for the Kids Classic and Saturday night's ceremony.
"Coming in to see my ex-teammates... It's just like we have picked up right where we left off," he said.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has declared June 15, 2019 to be Joe Mauer Day in the state, in recognition of Mauer's legacy and contributions to Minnesota sports. He presented the proclamation to Mauer before Friday's Twins-Royals game.
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.
"I might get choked up a little bit (Saturday), but I'm going to try and hold it together as best as I can," he said.