Joe Mauer (Joseph Patrick Mauer) was born on April 19, 1983 in St. Paul, Minnesota. He made his Major League debut on April 5, 2004 for the Minnesota Twins. In 2005, his rookie year, he hit .294 with 9 home runs and 55 RBI. Mauer played for the Minnesota Twins for his entire 3 year career.
He was considered by many scouts to be the best young catcher in the sport and has been said to have one of the best swings in baseball or possibly of all-time. In his breakout 2006 season, Mauer became the first catcher in major league history to lead both leagues in batting average and the first American League catcher to win the batting championship as a catcher with an average of .347.
High School Career
Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, Mauer was a three-sport athlete, baseball, football, and basketball, for St. Paul's Cretin-Derham Hall Raiders. He was even good enough to make it into a Sports Illustrated issue as a "Face In The Crowd". A stand-out in baseball, Mauer was struck out only once during his high school career, while hitting .605 during his senior season. Mauer caught for the Team USA Junior National team from 1998 to 2000 and hit .522 during his final year on the team. He was voted best hitter at the world tournament in Panama in 2000. In 2001, Mauer was voted the Minnesota District V Player of the Year.
During his senior season as the Raiders' quarterback, Mauer completed 178 of 288 passes for 3,022 yards and 41 touchdowns with only two interceptions and finished his two-year career as a starter with 5,528 yards and 73 touchdowns. He led the Raiders to two consecutive Class 5A state championship game appearances, winning the title in 1999, and once threw seven touchdown passes in a single playoff game. Mauer was named Gatorade's National Player of the Year, Parade and USA Today Player of the Year and a Reebok/ESPN High School All-American. Mauer was also named "National High School Quarterback Of The Year" in 2000 by The National Quarterback Club. He was also named to the All-State team during his final two years on Cretin-Derham's basketball team. However, he turned down a football scholarship from Florida State University to enter the Major League Baseball Draft. Mauer was selected by the Twins as the first overall pick of the 2001 draft, ahead of another elite prospect, Mark Prior, who was taken second overall in the Major League Baseball Draft by the Chicago Cubs.
Mauer was part of the United States' roster at the 2003 All-Star Futures Game at U.S. Cellular Field before being promoted to the Twins' roster in 2004 after his predecessor, A.J. Pierzynski, was traded to the San Francisco Giants in the 2003 off-season. Mauer went 2-for-3 in his Major League debut, hitting a single off Rafael Betancourt of the Cleveland Indians for his first major-league hit.
A knee injury to his left medial meniscus on April 7, 2004 required surgery and sidelined Mauer for over a month. After a rehabilitation stint with the Twins' AAA affiliate Rochester Red Wings, Mauer returned to the Twins' lineup in June. In July, pain and swelling in his knee forced an early end to Mauer's 2004 season.
Following his injury-shortened 2004, Mauer signed a contract worth $5.7 million with the Twins on January 24, 2005. In 2005, Mauer returned to the Twins' lineup for his first full major league season and had 144 hits in 131 games, ending the year with an average of .294.
In 2006, Mauer's performance throughout the months of May and June gathered attention from the national media. He recorded a .528 average over the first ten days of June and hit .452 over the course of the month. On June 12, Mauer was named the American League Player of the Week by Major League Baseball for his performance the week of June 4–11, during which he hit .625 (15-for-24) with 5 doubles, 4 RBI and 2 stolen bases.
Mauer finished the 2006 regular season with a .347 batting average, edging the Yankees' Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano to win the American League batting title and become the first-ever American League catcher to win the crown and the first catcher to claim the title since Ernie Lombardi in 1942 with the Boston Braves. His .347 average was the highest in either league, a feat not achieved by the previous three catchers to win NL batting titles.
After going 2-for-4 in the last game of the 2006 regular season, Mauer confessed to reporters, "When I told you I wasn't thinking about the batting title? I was lying. I've never been that nervous in my life. I haven't felt anything like that since Opening Day as a rookie."
On February 11, 2007, Mauer agreed to a four-year, $33 million contract with the Twins to avoid arbitration. The deal ensures that Mauer will remain in Minnesota long enough to play in the Twins' new outdoor stadium in 2010.
- Mauer is one of the best all around hitters in the league. He has the potential to hit .400 one season and, despite his apparent lack of ability to hit the ball deep, is likely to eventually mature into a .350 hitter with 20 HR's/season.
- The only criticism Mauer faces is his durability. As a catcher, towards the end of the season, he will get more easily fatigued, and it will be harder for him to maintain his number.
- He also has a history of knee problems, which hurts his playing time. Like most catchers, Mauer rarely plays a day game after a night game the previous day. However, he also only occasionally plays the final game of a series.
Awards & Accomplishments
- 2003 Minor League Player of the Year (Baseball America)
- 2009 AL Most Valuable Player
- 3-time MLB All-Star (2006, 2008, 2009)
- 3-time MLB Silver Slugger Winner (2006, 2008, 2009)
- 2-time Gold Glove Winner (2008, 2009)
- 3-time batting title winner (2006, 2008, 2009); that is the most batting titles ever won by a Major League catcher.
- Selected by the Minnesota Twins in the 1st round (1st pick overall) of the free-agent draft on (June 5, 2001 - signed on July 17, 2001).
- Mauer modeled for Perry Ellis in the 2004-2005 off-season and has been featured in television commercials for Pepsi and ESPN.
- Joe's two brothers, Jake and Billy, signed with the Twins, as well.
- Jake was drafted in the 23rd round (677th overall pick) in the same year Joe got drafted (2001).
- Billy, signed with the Twins as an undrafted free agent in 2003.
- Mauer's uncle, Ken Mauer, is a referee in the NBA.
- Mauer lived with Twins teammate Justin Morneau in St. Paul during the 2006 season, but the two now have their own homes; Morneau got married.
- On December 17, 2009 it was announced that Joe Mauer will grace the cover of MLB 10 the Show; he will be the first catcher to be on the cover of any of the MLB the Show video games.
- Mauer likes to create his own rap music during his spare time. . Teammate Michael Cuddyer says that he does it in a studio in his house.