At one time in the 2000s and the early part of the 2010s, Minnesota Twins catcher Mauer was one of MLB’s best pure hitters.
He never had too much power, but his contact ability was unparalleled, especially for a catcher.
Historically, catchers don’t hit much and are expected to be defensive assets rather than middle-of-the-lineup producers.
But Mauer was a special hitter: a rare specimen.
During his career, he slashed .306/.388/.439 with an .827 OPS, 143 home runs, 1018 runs and 923 RBI.
For a catcher, that was very, very solid.
An Impressive List Of Achievements
If you look at his trophy case, it’s also quite populated.
He was a six-time All-Star (2006, 2008–2010, 2012, 2013), the AL MVP in 2009, a three-time Gold Glove Award winner (2008–2010), a five-time Silver Slugger Award winner (2006, 2008–2010, 2013), and a three-time AL batting champion (2006, 2008, 2009).
That’s quite a resume.
Joe Mauer boasts 3 batting titles, 3 gold gloves, 5 silver sluggers, 6 all-star appearances, and an MVP in '09 (he led all offensive categories including OPS+). He was also the first catcher to lead the American League in hitting. He deserves to be in the HOF. What a career. https://t.co/5CBP804Mhp
— Dan Slaubaugh (@DanSlaubaugh) January 28, 2022
The Twins retired his number 7, a sign of the utmost respect for him.
Mauer was, in addition to a great hitter, a good defensive catcher in the early part of his career.
He was then a good defensive first baseman in the final third of his brilliant MLB tenure.
But is he a Hall of Famer?
He will not be present on next year’s ballot, but he will be eligible for enshrinement in 2024, because he retired in 2018.
Here is a list of players who are eligible for Hall of Fame voting in 2024 🗳️
Who is getting in? pic.twitter.com/boy4XklLbS
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) January 27, 2022
At first glance, Beltre looks like a surefire first-ballot Hall of Famer.
The rest? Some of them have a strong case.
Mauer is certainly one of them.
First, he has the hardware: he wasn’t a perennial MVP as some of his peers, but did win the award once in 2009, and he was very, very good that year.
He batted .365/.444/.587 that year, with 28 home runs, 94 runs, and 96 RBI.
He also has the body of work: he accumulated 52.5 career Wins Above Replacement (WAR) per FanGraphs and 55.2 according to Baseball Reference.
He Belongs In The Hall
Complicating matters is the fact he played only 15 seasons.
Most Hall of Famers play at least 18 or 20, sometimes more.
But he came close.
Additionally, Mauer also had the peak performance.
Between 2006 and 2010, Mauer totaled 29.6 WAR, or 5.9 per season.
That’s quite impressive.
Known character issues that could potentially affect his image among writers? None: in fact, he was seen as a leader and a good teammate.
Steroid links? Also, none.
Mauer may not be a first-ballot Hall of Famer (maybe he will!), but he certainly has an excellent chance of entering eventually, perhaps sooner than later.
He belongs in the Hall of Fame and is, pretty clearly, one of the best offensive catchers of all time.