January 24, 2024

Say it’s so, Joe

Minnesota native and catcher Joe Mauer, who spent his entire 15-year career with the Twins, was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday in his first year of eligibility.

Mauer appeared on 76.1 percent of ballots cast by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, just inching past the 75 percent mark to get in the door at that Cooperstown, New York-based building.

Is Mauer a Hall of Fame player? To Twins fans, he certainly is, but for others allow me to dispel some doubts.

Mauer was a six-time All-Star, a five-time Silver Slugger winner and three times was recognized for his defense with Gold Gloves, according to the Hall of Fame announcement that was carried by MLB Network.

According to the announcement:

-In 2006, he was the first catcher to win a batting title in more than 60 years.

-He won a second batting title in 2008 and a third in 2009 in which he hit .365 and won American League MVP honors.

-His career fielding percentage of .995 is ninth all time for catchers.

Other accomplishments: His three batting titles is the most by a catcher and he is the only catcher in history with at least 2,000 hits (2,123), a .300 batting average (.306) and a .380 on-base percentage (.388), according to the BBWAA.

He also is one of three catchers, the others being Johnny Bench and Ivan Rodriguez, to be elected on his first ballot.

“I don’t think it’s fully sunk in, to be honest,” Mauer told MLB.com in reaction to the news. “I mean, there are so many great players, great catchers in the Hall of Fame. Just thinking of some off the top of my head, Yogi Berra, Roy Campanella — it’s not lost on me. It’s unbelievable. I’m still kind of pinching myself to receive that type of news.”

Dave Winfield, Paul Molitor and Jack Morris, all of whom spent time with the Twins and are in the Hall of Fame, also hail from St. Paul like Mauer.

COMMENTS

Hi, I’m Rolf Boone, Twins fan.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.