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Twins to retire Mauer's jersey number at Saturday night ceremony

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Joe Mauer
Minnesota Twins' Joe Mauer, the subject of retirement talk, acknowledges a standing ovation before batting against the Chicago White Sox in the first inning of a baseball game on Sept. 30, 2018, in Minneapolis.
Jim Mone | AP 2018

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.

Joe Mauer
Joe Mauer waves as he walks on the field at Target Field in Minneapolis on Friday for the fourth annual Mauer and Friends Kids Classic.
John Nguyen | MPR News

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.

Joe Mauer
Former Twins star Joe Mauer (right) looks on as Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan speak before the game between the Minnesota Twins and the Kansas City Royals on Friday at Target Field in Minneapolis. Walz and Flanagan declared Saturday, June 15, 2019, as Joe Mauer Day in Minnesota.
Hannah Foslien | Getty Images

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.