Former Minnesota Twins legend Joe Mauer will learn Tuesday at 5 p.m. if he’s been inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame, the game’s highest honor.
Born in St. Paul and drafted by the Twins in 2001, Mauer went on to an extraordinary career in Major League Baseball. He played in six All-Star games, won three Gold Glove awards, and was named the American League’s most valuable player in 2009.
Mauer was a multisport athlete at St. Paul’s Cretin-Derham Hall High School and “could really have done anything he wanted,” Do-Hyoung Park, Twins reporter for MLB.com, told MPR News.
At the end of his senior year, Mauer was committed to play quarterback at Florida State University — “an extraordinarily high profile, high-pressure position,” Park said. But the baseball stars aligned. The Twins that year had the top overall selection in MLB’s draft, giving Mauer the chance to play for his hometown team.
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“And that,” Park added, “started what one could call a storybook career.”
Mauer, now 40, played catcher during much of his career before shifting to first base. He led the league in batting average three years and was the first catcher to win the American League battling title.
“Catcher is really the most physically and mentally demanding position for a hitter to play because of the toll that's taken on the body … and also having to prepare a game plan with the pitchers, which is oftentimes not a mental load that other players on the field have to really take as intensely,” Park said. “And so because of this, it's often been difficult to find exemplary hitters at the catching position.”
To secure his place in the Hall of Fame, Mauer must get 75 percent of votes on all available ballots. Park says he’s cautiously optimistic it’ll happen.