Is Joe Worthy of the Hall of Fame?

Many Twins fans can remember the 87 and 91 series as great series for two Twins Hall of Famers, Kirby Puckett, and Jack Morris, two more were also in the series. What if I told you a current Twins player could enter the most prestigious honor in baseball with them.
The year is 2001 and an 18-year-old kid out of Cretin-Durham Hall, Minnesota is waiting for his name to be called. The Twins with the first pick, put their hope in their midwest scouting supervisor, Joel Lepel, to make the call. In a time where the MLB draft is not popular, it was not televised, instead many players did not know they had been drafted until they got a call. Who did the Twins call? None other than that kid, Joe Mauer. They only got a kid from St. Paul at the time, but they would later have a key piece in their franchise. He is still playing with the Twins, but after his career ends, he has a great chance to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Let it be known. Joe Mauer will be inducted into the Hall of Fame when his career ends, because of his hitting achievements, his value compared to others, and how he is viewed from fans of baseball.

How you are Inducted.

 According to https://baseballhall.org/hall-of-famers/bbwaa-rules-for-election, the rules for being inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame are as follows.
  • You must have played in the MLB for 10 years.
  • You can only be inducted at least 5 years after you retire.
  • BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America) votes of the players nominated for that election.
  • Any player with 75 % of the votes for election will be inducted.
  • According to baseballhall.org for what to look for when voting, “Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.”

The Accolades do not Lie.

Joe Mauer in his 14 years in Minnesota, has racked up 3 batting titles. You win a batting title for having the best batting average in your league (American or National). He won in 2006 with a .347 batting average, 2008 with a .328 batting average, and in 2009 with a .365 batting average. To put that in perspective, Ken Griffey Jr.’s highest batting average was .323,

Griffey was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016 with 99.3% of the votes.

Joe is one of three catchers to have won a batting title, Eugene Hargrave (1926) and Ernie Lombardi (1938 and 1942). He won the 2009 AL (American League) MVP, over New York Yankee legends, Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter. Joe Mauer got 27 out of 28 votes and 387 points in balloting from the BBWAA. Mike Piazza another catcher in the Hall never won an MVP. These statistics are provided by Baseball Reference.

Mauer > Piazza?

Mike Piazza, a 2016 MLB Hall of Fame inductee, played both positions that Joe played (first base and catcher). Piazza had 83 % of the votes. He played 16 seasons, 2 more than Joe has currently, but Joe is still playing. Surprisingly, they both have the same career batting average at .308, but Piazza has more hits (1975 to 2127). Mauer should have more hits when he retires though, his hits per year average is 141, so if Joe plays 3 more years he will have over 100 more hits than Piazza. If we look at how many years their respected teams have made the postseason, Piazza has him beat 8 series to 3. Piazza led his team in batting average every time they made the postseason. Mauer also led his team in batting each time they made the postseason. Take 2010 for instance, Joe Mauer hit a respectable .327, the next highest on his team came from Michael Cuddyer (.271). Both of these men lead their teams to the postseason, but for now, Piazza has better stats and a plaque in Cooperstown.

What Mauer has done for Minnesota.

Mauer has been the staple of this franchise and fans of Minnesota have loved him. This from an article on Bleacher Report describes it,

“I tell people that it’s possible he could leave as a free agent after the year,” former Twins catcher Tim Laudner says, “And they look mortified. It just shows how Minnesotans are so different. They’re so protective of their teams. I mean, look at what they did to embrace (Brett Favre ). People would go crazy here if Mauer ever left, especially with the new stadium.”

he also had this to say about Mauer’s relations with fans, “Lemme ask you this: How many players are there right now who would elicit a “mortified” look from the hometown fans just at the mere discussion of leaving as a free agent? The discussion has to begin with Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter, but both of those guys have been around since the mid-’90s and have a true legacy with the Yankees.” Minnesotans care so much about this player, a man they have never even met, because he is an icon for Minnesota baseball. He has shown for it, maybe being the best player to be on the Twins since Torii Hunter in 1993. He has earned the fans trust and hope of this franchise to one day be winners with him on the team.

How News sees Mauer.

Joe Mauer has Minnesotans captivated by his skills. Even though he is not playing on the most popular of teams he is still in major news sites. An article from Bleacher Report, says that “the best player drafted in the 2000s in my estimation is Mauer”. Another article, this time from ESPN says, “It might seem impossible to choose a Player of the Decade from among the more than 5 million who suited up for high school baseball teams in the U.S. from 2000 to 2009. But once you know all there is to know about Joe Mauer, it’s not so tough”. Major news sources call it like they see it Mauer, is, a, superstar.

What is Standing in Front of Mauer?

“Historically great catcher for a brief span followed by a productive but hardly overwhelming first baseman”, that is how Mauer is described by Joel Sherman in the article We’ve Seen Joe Mauer’s Hall of Fame Case Before. He brings up the great point that in his 2009 MVP season he hit 28 home runs, and has the same amount in his last three seasons. Meaning he has fallen off a bit from his prime as a catcher. Many people would see Joe as just an average player because “He has lacked the oomph the rest of the game has been delivering”. A person having these “oomphs” will be recognized for them by being known as a good player, these are something Mauer had done as a catcher but has lacked as a first baseman. Another article, The most likely Hall of Famer on every MLB team entering 2017 brings up the idea, “Can Mauer stay healthy and rebound?” That is the entire reason Mauer moved to first base because he had many concussions at catcher. He has only managed 134 games a season. Not enough to make himself known again. The reoccurring belief is that “He’s also been a shell of himself at the plate the past three years, managing a .267/.353/.380 slash. The more Mauer struggles, the more people might forget the player who had a case going early in his career to be the best-hitting catcher in baseball history.”(Graham Womack of SportingNews.com).

The Case Mauer Provided Us.

The case for Mauer’s career cannot be decided yet. The man has more seasons of baseball coming his way. Yet where he is at now, and what he could be in the future could make him a candidate and an inductee into the Hall of Fame. Many Minnesotans want to believe he will make the Hall of Fame. We have had many losing seasons but we still cheer our team on because we latch onto players. Who is the person we have held onto and made our centerpiece for baseball in Minnesota? Joe Mauer. Look at how the fans were when there were rumors of him leaving. They were “mortified”. The man has won 3 batting titles, something few catchers have done, 3 catchers to be exact. He has won an MVP trophy something that nobody in the Twins organization has done since his. It has been 14 memorable years for good reason. He is our Hometown Hero. He deserves the highest of respect from baseball because he has earned it from baseball fans all over. What is that respect that he deserves? The Hall of Fame.

Featured image by Keith Allison on Flickr

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2 thoughts on “Is Joe Worthy of the Hall of Fame?

  1. I don’t know much about baseball teams, but I do know who Joe Mauer is (from the ice cream commercials, duh). This article gave me more information about him and it was very interesting. I really liked this post!

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