Twins retire Joe Mauer's number 7 in a surprise ceremony at his high school alma mater

Mauer is the eighth to have his number retired by the Twins

December 18, 2018 - 8:43 am

He's now among the most elite company in Twins history.

It was announced Tuesday that Joe Mauer will have his number 7 retired.

The six-time All-Star was surprised with the announcement during a gathering at his alma mater, Cretin-Derham Hall High School in St. Paul. 

"Wow!" said Mauer. "Wasn't expecting this, that's for sure."

Taking part in the ceremony were Kent Hrbek, Bert Blyleven, Tony Oliva, and Tom Kelly, three other Twins whose numbers are retired.

"I've looked up to every one of you guys up here on this podium," he said. "To be with you here today is very special. I'm not even comprehending what it's going to be like to see number seven up there with you guys' numbers. It's going to be real special, too."

The surprise ceremony, aired live on WCCO radio, took place at the school's field house, which is named after Mauer.

Earlier, Gov. Mark Dayton appeared on a video screen at the field house to declare Tuesday Joe Mauer Day in Minnesota.

“In 2001 at age 18, Joe was chosen as the first overall draft pick for the Minnesota Twins,” reads the proclamation. “Joe Mauer will forever be recognized as one of Minnesota’s all-time greatest athletes, and will continue to inspire future generations of girls and boys with his exceptional talent and character.”

He now joins a list that is considered one of the highest team honor in sports. Other Twins similarily honored include Hrbek (14) Kelly (10), Oliva (6) and Blyleven (28), with Harmon Killebrew (3), Rod Carew (29), and Kirby Puckett (34) also on that list.

The Twins' retired numbers are displayed in white circles trimmed in red adjacent to the left field foul pole at Target Field on the facing of the administration building's lower level.

A new white circle with the number 7 in red will be unveiled alongside the others during a pregame ceremony next summer.

The date for that game is not announced.

Mauer announced his retirement from baseball last month after completing his firtheenth season.

He played his entire professional career with the Twins, who chose him as the top overall selection in the 2001 Major League Draft.

Mauer is the only catcher in major league history to win three batting championships. He also won three Gold Glove Awards and was the American League Most Valuable in 2009.

The six-time All-Star finished his career with 2,123 hits, second-most in Twins history behind Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett. His career batting average was .306.

He ranks first on the Twins' all-time list in doubles (428) and times on base (3,087); second in games (1,858), hits (2,123) and walks (939); fifth in RBI (923) and 11th in home runs (143).

Mauer was a three-sport athlete at Cretin-Derham Hall, starring in football and basketball, as well as baseball. He was offered a full scholarship to play quarterback at Florida State before deciding on a baseball career.

Mauer played the final five years of his career at first base after suffering several concussions while catching. In his final game on Sept. 30, Mauer donned the catcher's gear for one pitch before leaving the game for good, with the crowd at Target Field giving him a standing ovation.

The emotional final curtain came after Mauer's last at-bat in which he legged out a double on a line drive in the left-center field gap against White Sox pitcher Juan Minaya.

A ninth number, 42, is also retired and hanging at Target Field. That number was worn by Jackie Robinson, the first African-American to play in the majors in the 20th century, and it was retired by MLB throughout all of baseball.

Jared Goyette, WCCO Radio

​Joe Mauer poses with his daughters and family after the ceremony