Joe Mauer recently picked up Silver Slugger and Gold Glove awards for his production during the 2010 regular season. This already solidifies him as the top player to ever suit up in a Minnesota Twins uniform. Longevity plays more of a factor in Major League Baseball than in other sports.
Mauer had to play half the season without his fellow M&M boy Justin Morneau and he still managed to acquire a .327 average-nine home runs, and seventy five runs batted in. This is quality production considering that Mauer had more injuries than were publicized. After receiving the honors, Mauer released a few comments hinting that he was banged up for an uncertain period of time while staying in the line-up.
By Patrick Herbert
Mauer was the primary offensive and defensive weapon this season for the Twins with assistance primarily coming from Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel in the former. In the latter, the double play combination of Orlando Hudson and J.J. Hardy provided consistency up the middle. Denard Span can also cover a substantial amount of ground in center field. Mauer has now won the Silver Slugger award (given to the top offensive player in the league at a given position) during the following seasons: 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2010.
He is the only catcher in the history of the game to win three batting titles and this is his third consecutive gold glove. It is an understatement to say that Twins management is pleased that they chose Mauer ahead of USC pitching phenom Mark Prior. The primary factors that guided this decision were that Mauer was a local product from Saint Paul and that he would sign for less money than it would take to get Prior.
It is foolish to guarantee eight figures in a draft to a pitcher with all of the arm trouble that they could experience throughout their careers. Stephen Strasburg is fresh on the minds of everyone, but Todd Van Poppel and Ben McDonald didn’t exactly achieve the success that everyone envisioned for them either.
Some other names come to mind when considering the best Twin ever.
Fans need to look no further than Bert Blyleven in the broadcast booth. He was a tremendous starting pitcher who didn’t spend his whole career with the ball club. That is the same reason that Rod Carew fell out of the running.
Kirby Puckett never completely dominated his position the way that Mauer has because Ken Griffey Jr. was in the outfield during much of his career. Harmon Killebrew’s power numbers are diminished by the strength of today’s players. It is not all because of performance enhancing drugs. Nobody has ever accused Albert Pujols or Jim Thome of partaking in them.Follow paulmbanks