MLB Hall of Fame candidate: Joe Mauer
Twins fans will be quick to insist that Mauer is a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but voters might not see it that way. Whether he gets in on the 2024 ballot seems to be beyond the point, though, as it's a matter of when Mauer gets a bust in Cooperstown and not if it ever happens.
Mauer's peak is among the best any catcher has had in the history of the game. During the five years where he was at the peak of his powers, Mauer won three batting titles, three Gold Gloves, four Silver Sluggers, was named to four All-Star teams and won AL MVP.
Beyond the accolades, he was also a .306 career hitter, and his 55.2 career WAR ranks seventh among catchers all-time.
Numbers have always been King Daddy when assessing anything within baseball, but there's also rich text to consume when it comes to Mauer's narrative. He's a homegrown superstar in every sense of the term, having been born and raised in Minnesota before spending all 15 seasons of his career playing for the team he grew up rooting for. It's hometown hero romanticism worthy of inclusion in a Ken Burns documentary, and harkens back to a long gone era of random farm hands picking up a ball and turning into Honus Wagner.
Beyond where he contextually fits within the broader baseball narrative, Mauer is a full-stop Twins legend. In 50 years, images of him will be conjured up the same way Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew, and Kirby Puckett are today when remembering legends who are as much a part of the franchise's fabric as the jerseys on the backs of players.
Mauer might not get into Cooperstown in 2024 -- he'll need at least 75 percent of the vote to be elected -- but it feels like only a matter of time. Look no further than this year's class, with the meteoric ascension of Scott Rolen who had a similar career to Mauer's, for proof.