According to LaVelle E. Neal III and Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Joe Mauer will announce his retirement from baseball after 15 MLB seasons, all with the Minnesota Twins.
The Twins have not yet confirmed the announcement, but the expectation is that a press conference will take place on Monday at Target Field.
His mid-May concussion reminded the soon-to-be father of three that there are other considerations besides baseball. “Thank you, Minnesota Twins, and thank you, fans, for making my career as special and memorable as it was," he said. "I leave with a full and grateful heart.” https://t.co/t479AHjwx5
— Phil Miller (@MillerStrib) November 9, 2018
In a statement issued by Mauer to the Star Tribune, the 35-year-old former catcher said the following:
“After much consideration I have decided to retire from playing baseball. The decision came down to my health and my family. 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. Thank you, Minnesota Twins, and thank you, fans, for making my career as special and memorable as it was. Because of you I can leave the game I love with a full and grateful heart.”
The greatest screenwriters in the world couldn’t have scripted a better ending for Mauer, who sliced a double into the gap in left-center in what ended up being his final big-league at-bat on Sept. 30 against the Chicago White Sox.
But the best was still to come, as an extended delay before the top of the ninth led to a moment for the ages — Mauer coming out as a catcher one last time.
— FOX Sports North (@fsnorth) September 30, 2018
Mauer caught one pitch from Matt Belisle, called for time and embraced the veteran righty on the mound before leaving the field one last time.
Belisle was so grateful for the chance to be part of that moment, as he relayed to the media following the game.
“Awesome? Yeah, that’s an understatement,” Belisle said of the scene during the ninth inning that day. “Very emotional. When he approached me about this a few days ago, it was something that I was just really blown away with humility, to have an honor bestowed on me in that regard. So, of course, I told him, ‘If you want to do this, I’m in your corner like cast iron, I’ll do whatever you want. It doesn’t matter, and that’s for life.’ When he came to me yesterday and said we’re going to do it, I said, ‘OK, let’s roll.’
“I didn’t know how it would play out there, with the length of time, given the hugs and all that, I just wanted to do my best to make it about him and have it as special as it can be. I’m at a loss for words on the idea that he came to me and said I wouldn’t have anybody than you throw it. I don’t know what to say about that.”
Mauer admitted things got pretty emotional when he put that gear on for the last time.
It’s what led to this iconic photo, a fitting final image for a career well played, Mauer.
— Dustin Morse (@morsecode) October 1, 2018
“I was able to put my gear on at my locker. That’s kind of when it all came out. I was able to get out there and have that moment, and I’m just thankful it happened that way.”
The only way it could have been more perfect is if the final series had been against the team the Twins played before Chicago — the Detroit Tigers, with manager Ron Gardenhire watching from the other dugout.