(KMSP) - Arguably one of the most well-known athletes in Minnesota, Joe Mauer is hanging up his ballcap for good after spending his entire major league career with the Twins.
Mauer got very emotional Monday as he said farewell to fans.
“Those days down at Jimmy Lee, those days down at all the ball fields in St. Paul helped mold me into the guy I am today,” Mauer said.
For a lot of Minnesota fans, it’s always been Joe Mauer.
“When I was growing up in high school I heard of him. When i was playing youth baseball I knew who he was. Then when he got drafted by the Twins that was obviously exciting because I knew he was a good player and a great person,” fan Matt Hirschi.
From his days as a Cretin Derham Raider to a Twins first round draft pick, fans watched as Joe Mauer became one of the greats.
“I believe it gives us hope, especially for up-and-coming Raiders, for baseball. If they see something, potential-wise, and they think they can be the next Joe Mauer, well Hey, there’s someone that’s already done it, just follow in his footsteps and become the next great like him,” said fan Gabriel Young.
Fellow Cretin Derham grad Gabriel Young says Mauer is a leader, paving the way for that next generation of greats.
“He’s been a huge influence for all of our teams, especially baseball. He was always a role model for us - great leader. What can I say, he’s a Twinkie,” Young said.
Mauer is Minnesota - embodying all that is Minnesota baseball.
“I think he’s a good example of what a Minnesotan is... good people, friendly people, hard-working person, someone that gives it all that he’s got,” Hirschi said.
It started in the Twin Cities, and for Joe Mauer, that’s where it ends.
“I’m going to raise my kids here. My family’s here, born and raised. I was a Twins fan before I was a twin, I’ll be a twins fan after I’m done as a player,” he said
Though sad to see him go, fans say they're happy for him.
Meanwhile, Mauer says he still wants to be connected to the organization.