MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - Minnesota Twins great Joe Mauer will be honored at Saturday night’s game at Target Field as the Twins retire his number. But, on one of the biggest weekends of his life, Mauer isn't thinking about himself.
Friday, he kept his focus on others by hosting his annual Mauer and Friends Kids Classic, where children from Gillette Specialty Healthcare get to play games with athletes from all the major teams in town.
“He’s just so genuine, so special. He’s what the game is all about. It’s how they say it should look – that’s Joe Mauer,” said Jim Thome, former Twins player.
Players like Zach Parise from the Minnesota Wild and Adam Thielen from the Minnesota Vikings along with former Twins teammates like Johan Santana, Michael Cuddyer and Torii Hunter were there to support Mauer.
“You know it’s those type of guys that, you know, made me realize that I do have a platform and you try to use it for good when you can and that’s all I’m trying to do,” said Mauer.
More than 30 Twins alumni will gather this weekend for the retiring of No. 7, joining the other numbers previously honored by the franchise. He has certainly earned his spot among the greats, spending his entire 15-year career with the Twins, becoming the first catcher to win three batting titles and an American League MVP. A Minnesota native, he did it all in his own backyard, which impressed his former teammates
“Sometimes it can be a lot of pressure playing at home with all your family members, friends and teachers and everybody watching, and you want to go out and perform at your highest potential every day,” said Hunter. “It can be a lot of pressure to some people, but I feel like he was that even-keeled, didn’t get too hot, didn’t get too low, he just went out and did what he was supposed to do on a day-to-day basis.”
It will be one more curtain call for Mauer as his number will never be wore again by a Twins player after Saturday night.
“To have my number up there next to those guys, it’s hard to search for the right words how much that means to me,” said Mauer. “Like I said, I might get choked up a little bit tomorrow, but I’ll try to hold it together best I can.”