7 best moments from Joe Mauer’s Hall of Fame career

A career well-spent, all in Minnesota.
Detroit Tigers v Minnesota Twins
Detroit Tigers v Minnesota Twins / Jamie Squire/GettyImages
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No. 6: Joe Mauer hits his only career walk-off against the Red Sox, May 5, 2017

Despite having some of the most otherworldly batting stats in his prime, Mauer was never known as a power hitter. He set his career high in home runs in his 2009 MVP season with 28, but never broke 11 in any of the nine seasons that followed.

In 2017, the second to last year of his career, he hit his first and only walk-off home run, powering up against the Boston Red Sox in the bottom of the ninth at Target Field. It came against Boston reliever Matt Barnes on an 1-2 count, off a fastball up in the zone.

2017 was the best of his last five seasons, coming after three years of still great but more down-to-earth numbers. He continued to be one of the toughest at-bats in the game, though, reemerging with a .305 batting average and .384 OBP. It was the last year he went to the postseason with the team, exiting after a loss in the Wild Card game against the Yankees, before he retired in 2018.

- Stebbins

No. 5: Joe Mauer's diving home plate tag on Brett Gardner, May 17, 2009

So much is made about Mauer's offensive stats in making his case for Cooperstown, but don't overlook how elite his defense was while at the peak of his powers. He ended up winning five Silver Sluggers, but Mauer also collected three straight Gold Gloves and his .9951 fielding percentage ranks in the Top 10 all-time among catchers.

There are a handful of plays that he made throughout his career that display his defensive acumen, but perhaps none represent how elite he was than when he tagged out Brett Gardner back in 2010.

It wasn't just any tag, it was a masterfully athletic play that reminded us that he was a multi-sport athlete while making a name for himself across the state while still in high school. In the ninth inning of a tie game, Mauer fielded a lazy grounder that rolled halfway to the mound, which allowed Garnder to try and take advantage of home plate being undefended.

As Gardner raced down the third base line, Mauer picked up the ball, turned and sprinted toward home plate, diving to apply the tag and block a walk-off. Doing all of this against the Yankees in the Bronx only made the moment even sweeter.

- Hill