Joe Mauer bids an emotional farewell to baseball

"There is nowhere else I ever wanted to be."

Dan Cook
November 09, 2018 - 6:32 pm

USA Today

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"After much consideration, I have decided to retire from playing baseball."

With those words one of the all-time Twins greats has called it a career. 

He made the announcement official on Monday at Target Field.

Mauer penned a heartfelt letter to Twins fans explaining his reasons for retirement.

"The decision came down to my health and my family," Mauer said, "The risk of concussion is always there, and I was reminded of that this season after missing over 30 games as a result of diving for a foul ball."

Mauer first was diagnosed with a concussion in 2013 and repeated symptoms forced him to give up catching and move to first base. His $184-million contract was a club record, and while his performance during that contract didn't live up to many fans' expectations, he retires as an MVP-winner, six-time All Star, four-time Silver Slugger and a three-time Gold Glove winner. He holds the MLB records for the highest single-season batting average for a catcher (.365) and the highest single-season on-base percentage for a catcher (.444).

This past season, Mauer passed Twins legend Rod Carew for second place on the all-time Twins base hits list.

In his last game on September 30 against the Chicago White Sox, Mauer went 1-for-4, hustling out a double on an opposite field line drive off Juan Minaya in what turned out to be his final at-bat.

The emotion of the final weekend, which included Mauer’s twin 5-year-old daughters Emily and Maren taking the field with him for the national anthem, came to a crescendo when he took the field at catcher in the top of the ninth inning.

After tipping his helmet to the fans and tapping his heart while pointing to the Target Field grandstands and dugout, Mauer caught an outside pitch from Matt Belisle, called time, and with tears in his eyes hugged his pitcher and walked toward the clubhouse for the last time amid a standing ovation.

One of the top high school athletes in the nation, Mauer excelled at three sports at St. Paul’s Cretin-Derham Hall High School when the Twins made him the number one overall pick in the 2001 amateur draft.

He made his major league debut on Opening Day 2004, a 7-4 win over Cleveland on April 4 at the Metrodome, collecting the first of his 2,123 hits on a single in the 9th inning off Rafael Betancourt.

In between that first single and last two-bagger, Mauer was the heart and soul of a Twins team that he helped make the postseason four times.

View Mauer's entire letter to the fans here:

Minnesota Twins

WCCO's Al Schoch contributed to this report