July 9, 2006


The future has room for Mauer's sweet swing (Dave Kindred, 7/08/06, SportingNews.com)

He's 23 years old, 6-4, 220 pounds, a lefthanded hitter whose stroke is so pure, sure and quick that it puts his grandfather in mind of a tall, skinny kid he saw play for the Class AAA Minneapolis Millers at Nicollet Park in 1938. That one hit .366 with 43 home runs. Ted Williams.

Grandpa Jake was 7 years old when he saw Williams. Maybe that's why he became a lefthanded hitter. What the old man knows for sure is that one day he saw the infant Joe pick up a toy plastic bat righthanded. "No, no," Jake said, stopping that foolishness, and forever after he has said that the first time he saw Joe swing, in diapers, he knew Joe had it. "Ho-leee cow, what a cut!" is what he remembers saying. As Tiger Woods, with a golf club in his hands and a diaper on his bottom, had it, so did Joe.

"Yep, diapers, true story," says Bill Mauer, one of Joe's two older brothers and a repository of Mauer lore. Amazing thing is, most Joe Mauer stories are true.

A T-ball prodigy? "Hittin' it clear to other fields," Bill says. They sneaked him into regular little league games, disguised in a baggy big kid's uniform.

Best high school quarterback in the country? "Florida State wanted him so bad that Bobby Bowden said he'd hold the scholarship 12 years until Joe finished baseball," says Jim Souhan, veteran sportswriter at the Minneapolis Star Tribune. [...]

Late this June, when the wonder boy had gone 46 for his last 95, which comes to .484, the Twins voluble center fielder Torii Hunter said, "What Joe Mauer's doing is sick. . . . He's 23 years old. What's he going to do when he gets man muscles?"

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 9, 2006 9:08 AM

If I had to pick one player to start building a team around, he'd be the one. Pujols is great but at his position there's more competition.

Posted by: pj at July 9, 2006 10:02 AM