Some things in life feel inevitable, and Joe Mauer entering the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame felt like one of those things since hte moment he retired.
He remains such a core piece of Twins history that he could have started picking out where to put his statue while he was still playing at Target Field. It took the Twins less than a year to retire his No. 7 jersey and five years later he will have reached Twins immortality.
The Twins announced that Mauer will be inducted into the team's Hall of Fame next season during an August 5th game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Mauer will join Twins legends like Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew, Kirby Puckett and Kent Hrbek as well as former teammates Justin Morneau, Joe Nathan, and Michael Cuddyer as members of the Twins Hall of Fame. His No. 7 jersey has already been retired by the team, with that ceremony taking play less than a year after he announced his retiremed in 2018.
Joe Mauer Hall of Fame case for Cooperstown
The next step for Mauer is induction into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Next year will mark the first year of eligibility for Mauer to receive Hall of Fame votes, and there's a solid case to be made that he could get in on the first ballot.
At the peak of his power, Mauer won three batting titles, three Gold Gloves, four Silver Sluggers, was named to four All-Star teams and won AL MVP in 2008. He was also a .306 career hitter, and one of four Twins players with 50+ WAR (along with Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew, and Kirby Puckett). Not for nothing, but his 55.2 career WAR ranks seventh among catchers all-time.
Maybe he won't get in on the first ballot, but it seems like a case of when and not if Mauer will get a bust in Cooperstown. His case as a Twins icon has long been sealed, though, as it's not a hard argument to make for Mauer's inclusion on the team's Mt. Rushmore of legends.
More than just the stats, Mauer is as much a part of Minnesota's identity as Prince, the Boundary Waters, hockey, and the Mall of America. He was born and raised in St. Paul, became a high school legend, and played his entire 15 year career with the team he grew up rooting for. Twice he had a chance to leave -- to play college football at Florida State and when he was a free agent in 2010 -- but refused to abandon his home each time.
The romanticism of Mauer's hometown career is the type of stuff Ken Burns lives for when putting together stuff like his Baseball documentary, and it's truly unheard of in modern times. Had Mauer entered free agency in 2010, it would have been on levels only seen by Alex Rodriguez or LeBron James. That's what he turned his cheek to in order to return to the Twins on a win-win deal that paid him what he thought he was owed and didn't cash strap the team.
There have been few ballplayers like Mauer in the history of baseball, and there won't be many like him in the future. He's a rare breed, and he was uniquely one of us which made him special on and off the field.
His narrative could also work in favor of his case for Cooperstown. Baseball writers love a good story, and Mauer is remembered as being one of the most well-liked players to have played the game. Not a single writer or fan seems to have a bad thing to say about him, which tells you all you need to know.
How to get tickets for Joe Mauer Hall of Fame game?
Single game tickets for next season are already on sale, but the annoucement that August 5th will be Joe Mauer Hall of Fame Day is likely going to make that ticket a hot item.
Tickets are already available directly from the Minnesota Twins, which might be the cheapest place to get them. Searching secondary markets like StubHub and TickPick might give you a lower price, but if the game is sold out you're taking a risk.
Keep in mind that it's also Twins Hall of Fame Pin Day, but you don't need a special ticket to secure one. As long as you have a ticket to the game, whether it comes from the team or the secondary market, you'll be able to snag a pin when entering at the gate.