MINNEAPOLIS – Eighteen years after the Minnesota Twins took Joe Mauer with the first overall draft, the hometown with the left hand handbook was still hard to realize its place among the franchise's all-time greats. 19659002] When Mauer's jersey number formally joined the seven others who were retired by the twins on Saturday night, the six-hour All-Star and three-time batting master sounded like an enchanted of his place in team history as on his first day with rookie ball.
"Using No. 7 for the past 15 years has been my absolute pleasure," said Mauer, his voice cracked as he paused to compose "and could play my entire career in that number in front of my family, friends and fans at home mean more to me than any of you will ever know. "
Although the twins took the best record in the big leagues in their fight against Kansas City, the sales volume on this night acted more about the uniform pension for the Mauer, who was born and raised across the Mississippi River in St. So Paul and only played baseball for teams outside the Twin Cities in his three-season stint in smaller leagues.
"He just thought of himself as a child from St. Paul who was honored to play for his hometown Twins," said former teammate Justin Morneau, who spoke during the pastor who lasted about 45 minutes and highlighted a biographical montage that began with grainy home video of Mauer crushing tee balls with a remarkably smooth swing for a preschooler.
Gemini all went to the occasion as it has been the organization's custom year to celebrate the most decorated players and teams the franchise has had. They first surprised Mauer last December 18 at a ceremony at his alma mater, Cretin-Derham Hall High School in St. Paul, with the message, his number would be permanently without borders. This week, the club revealed a 72-page biographical coffee table, "A Twin for the Ages", with net proceeds earmarked for the Minnesota Twins Community Fund.
More than 30 alumni of the team were on the roster, including 21 former teammates from Morneau to Torii Hunter to Joe Nathan to Johan Santana to Brad Radke. Six members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame were present, including Johnny Bench, whom Mauer compared early on in his career as he was still a catcher before a concussion in 2013 forced a step to first base.
"Everyone we asked and they asked asked came back," said Mauer subsequent journalists. "It means everything to me."
Several of Mauer's former contemporaries around the big leagues also recorded video tribute from Albert Pujols to Justin Verlander to Ichiro Suzuki.
"For a catcher, I couldn't believe how friendly you were when I came to bats," Suzuki said.
The Twins even jumped the hip hop star TI to a recorded greeting. Mauer used his hit "What You Know" as the walk-up song for his bats, and one of his gifts from the team was a gilded memorial sign signed by the artist. Another souvenir present: The actual home plate from his last game last September 30, when he put on the gear of the last one in an emotional farewell.
Tony Oliva (6), Tom Kelly (10), Kent Hrbek (14), Bert Blyleven (28) and Rod Carew (29), the five others still living with retired Twins numbers were present. Then was the son of late Harmon Killebrew (3) and the son and daughter of late Kirby Puckett (34).
With about 50 family members looking at the course, including his wife, Maddie, old daughters Emily and Maren, and the 7 month old son, Chip, Mauer joined his mother, Teresa, at the height of the ceremonial first pitch at his father, Jake. The ball was high but over the plate.
"I was really nervous. I didn't throw a ball in a moment," Mauer said later. "I knew my dad wasn't as mobile as he used to be, so I wanted to get it in the area. To get them and my family and friends to be part of this weekend it really means a lot. "