Former Twins first baseman Joe Mauer has announced his retirement from Major League Baseball, according to a letter that was published on MLB.com on Friday. While there had been several hints that the six-time All-Star was nearing the end of his time with the club, Mauer revealed that he hadn’t felt ready to make an official decision until he stood on the field for the final game of the 2018 season.
The answer I was searching for came into sharper focus during my last game,” Mauer wrote, “a game I will never forget and a day where I felt like everything I was questioning started to become clear. As I stood on the field in my catcher’s gear, something I never thought would be possible again, I realized in that moment that this is how I wanted to finish my career. I wanted to finish on my home field in front of our amazing fans, my family, my friends, my teammates, and the organization that means so much to me. Being able to do that for a brief moment as a catcher, made that day even more incredible than I could have imagined.
It wasn’t just a sense of closure that gave Mauer the courage he needed to step away from a long, illustrious run with the Twins, however. He sustained a severe concussion during the 2013 season, one that compromised his ability to stick behind the plate and forced a permanent switch to first base. A host of other injuries — including a thigh injury, back strain, and lingering concussion symptoms — plagued the infielder in the years to follow, culminating in his decision to enter retirement for the sake of his health and his family.
Over 15 years with the Twins, the 35-year-old infielder holds a lifetime .306/.388/.439 batting line, six All-Star designations, three Gold Gloves, five Silver Sluggers and the 2009 AL MVP award. He also earned several distinctions in the league as the first AL catcher to earn a batting title, which he tacked onto his MVP season with a league-leading (and MLB record for a catcher) .365 average and .444 OBP across 606 PA for Minnesota.
In addition to the letter that was released on Friday, Mauer is expected to announce his retirement in the Sunday edition of the Star-Tribune as well.