Joe Mauer’s 1st Ballot Hall of Fame Hopes are Alive and Well

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Minnesota Twins
David Berding-USA TODAY Sports

Since the 2024 MLB Hall of Fame ballots first dropped, most have assumed that retired Minnesota Twins catcher and 1st baseman Joe Mauer is unlikely to receive his call. Not the first time around.

It’s not that Mauer doesn’t have a Hall of Fame résumé. The former MVP has one of the greatest catcher resumes of any major leaguer in baseball history. It includes six All-Star appearances, five Silver Sluggers, three Gold Gloves and three batting titles.

Mauer is and forever will be considered one of the greatest catchers of all time, for the 10 years he played the position. But more than any other major professional American sports league, the MLB Hall of Fame is the toughest to crack, especially on a player’s first try.

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Don’t rule Joe Mauer out as a 1st ballot Hall of Famer just yet

Had Mauer played at an MVP-type level at catcher for his entire career, he’d be a shoe-in. But concussions and a move out from behind the plate dropped Joe’s numbers at the plate noticeably toward the end of the year. But don’t count him out as a 1st ballot inductee just yet.

In the 13 ballots that have been made public, Mauer has been voted in on 80% of them. Candidates must receive 75% of the votes to reach the MLB Hall of Fame. It’s early (nearly 400 ballots were cast for last year’s class), but at least for now, these early results have The Athletic’s Aaron Gleeman convinced “it’s at least possible”.

I don’t think Joe Mauer will reach the 75 percent threshold on this first ballot, although most of the early ballots being made public with votes for Mauer have convinced me it’s at least possible.

Aaron Gleeman – The Athletic

The conversation no longer centers around whether or not Mauer can make it into The Hall. It’s been more about when he’ll be inducted. Mauer does have some factors working in his favor with this year’s HOF class, too. The best players on the ballot are all marked by some sort of link to PEDs.

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The best example is Minnesota Timberwolves minority owner, Alex Rodriguez played 22 major league seasons and won three MVPs but will forever live as one of the main faces of MLB’s steroid era. He’s on his 3rd attempt at the Hall of Fame and he’s been unable to garner even 36% of votes.

It’s not about ‘if’ for the Minnesota Twins legend, just ‘when’

joe mauer 1st ballot hall of fame minnesota twins
Credit: David Berding-USA TODAY Sports

For Mauer, there are no such concerns when it comes to integrity of play. Mauer was known for having one of the purest swings and best set of eyes in baseball, the moment he stepped into an MLB batter’s box.

Sure, he could have played a few more seasons to strengthen his case, but the St. Paul native still seems to have enough of a case to make the Hall of Fame eventually, even if it’s not on his first attempt.

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Only 58 players have ever reached the MLB Hall of Fame on their first attempt. Former Twin David Ortiz was the last to accomplish the feat, which came last year.

Jim Thome is another former Twin who became a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Other popular Twins to receive the rare honor on their first try include Paul Molitor, Kirby Puckett, Dave Winfield, and Rod Carew. Will Mauer join them?

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