If this really was the final game of Joe Mauer’s exemplary career, it’s tough to imagine a better ending.
The 35-year-old Mauer’s contract with the Minnesota Twins will run out after this season, which has reportedly led to Mauer seriously considering retirement this offseason. There’s still a chance Mauer could return for the 2019 season, but it sure looks like the player and team treated Sunday like his ride into the sunset.
If Mauer will indeed hang up his cleats this offseason, he will post a .282/.351/.379 line with six homers in his final season and a .306/.388/.439 with 2,122 hits and the 2009 MVP award in his 15-year MLB career. A St. Paul native drafted and developed by his local Twins organization, Mauer holds a special place in Twins history as both a beloved hometown hero and one of the best hitters to ever play catcher.
That bat flashed in Mauer’s final plate appearance Sunday, when he hit an opposite-field double in the seventh inning.
Joe Mauer’s possible final hit
That right there would have worked fine for a final on-field moment for Mauer, but then the Twins came up with something even more touching.
A catcher his entire career, Mauer hadn’t played his home position since 2013 due to repeated concussion issues. It was a terrible development for both Mauer and a Twins team that had to move him to a full time first-baseman/designated hitter.
In the ninth inning, Mauer got play catcher one last time.
Joe Mauer finally returns to catcher
— FOX Sports North (@fsnorth) September 30, 2018
Once the game, and possibly Mauer’s career, was over, the veteran got to embrace his children on the field in an emotional moment.
— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) September 30, 2018
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