Official: Joe Mauer is a 1st Ballot MLB Hall of Famer

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Kansas City Royals
Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Twins have had an up and down history, since they first arrived in the Twin Cities before the 1961 Major League Baseball season. But one thing is for sure, the best catcher and smoothest swing in the team’s history goes to St. Paul’s own, Joe Mauer.

Joe Mauer Named MLB 1st Ballot Hall of Famer

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 (2023). But on Tuesday, Joe Mauer officially became a future 1st ballot MLB Hall of Fame inductee. Joining him in the 2024 class are Adrian Beltre and Todd Helton.

Mauer played parts of 10 seasons as Twins catcher, pretty good longevity for such a grueling position. He caught 923 games and stepped in the box for 3,943 plate appearances with a “C” next to his name in the scorebook. Younger baseball fans might be surprised to learn that Joe played just 5 seasons as a 1st baseman, a position he also excelled at defensively.

Related: Joe Mauer is More than Baseball

Joe Mauer as Minnesota Twins Catcher

Twins fans 30 years and older will always remember him as the best catcher in baseball, because that’s what he was for his first decade in the MLB. From 2004 to 2013, Mauer carried a .323 BA, .873 OPS, 135 OPS+ and he walked (616) more times than he struck out (564). How crazy is that, as a baseball fan in 2024? More walks than strikeouts…?

Joe Mauer won 3 Gold Gloves5 Silver Sluggers and 3 AL batting titles, all behind the dish. Mauer’s .323 batting average while playing catcher is the best in MLB history (over 3,000 PA) and he’s the only American League catcher EVER to win a batting title, which he did three times between 2006 and 2009.

Mauer after catching

But concussion problems in 2013 forced a moved to first base and prompted a falloff at the plate. From 2014 to 2018, Mauer had a .278 BA, .746 OPS, 105 OPS+ and his strikeouts (470) far exceeded his walks (323).

Mauer will join six other Twins that have made the Hall of Fame, and whose names are forever etched into Twins Territory. Mauer also has a special place in our hearts as fans because he is Minnesota grown. Not only was he a standout baseball star in high school at Cretin-Derham Hall, but he also excelled at football.

So much so that Florida State head coach Jim Bowden had all but promised him the starting QB spot coming out of high school, before Mauer eventually entered and was drafted #1 overall by the Minnesota Twins.

Mauer made it into Cooperstown by FOUR votes…

Mauer entered the final days before today’s announcement at about 83% of counted ballots and he’s felt like a lock for weeks. But per usual, the late votes that were never made public threw every projection for a loop and nearly cost Joe the 75% needed to make it.

How close? He’s being inducted next month thanks to FOUR votes that went his way. Had less than a handful of over 350 voters not checked Mauer, he’d be sitting at home and hoping for the best next year. Incredible.

Mentioned in this article:

More About: