The American League Most Valuable Player will be announced on Monday afternoon, and if the 22 baseball personalities at ESPN are any indication of the actual voting, Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer will become the fifth player in franchise history to walk away with the award.
For the first month of the season fans anxiously awaited the arrival of the hometown catcher while backups Jose Morales and Mike Redmond held down the fort. An injury and a late start weren’t enough to hold Joe Mauer back in 2009 however, and as November comes to a close the All-Star catcher has accomplished things that may never be accomplished again.
Some of the best catchers in baseball eternity never did the things that Joe Mauer did over the course of the past six months. Yogi Berra and Johnny Bench were two of the greatest catchers of all time, yet neither did some of the things Mauer did in his sixth major league season.
Mauer became the first player since 1980 and the first catcher ever to lead the league in batting average, slugging percentage, and on-base percentage, his .365 average is now the best by a catcher in baseball history, and his third batting title matches the total of all catchers to ever play the game combined.
Despite doing things nobody has ever done, Mauer had yet to win the Most Valuable Player award until now. He becomes the tenth catcher to win the award, joining the likes of Berra, Bench, Ivan Rodriguez and others.
The MVP award caps off an eventful early off-season for Mauer, who had already won the American League Batting Title, the American League Silver Slugger, the American League Gold Glove, and the American League Outstanding Player award.
Mauer’s off-season will now fully begin with the awards all handed out, but his schedule isn’t likely to slow down. The rising star has already been in Chicago on behalf of Gatorade this month and his contract, which expires after next season, will be a hot topic as winter moves forward.
Mauer has already been awarded the American League Batting Title, the American League Gold Glove, the American League Silver Slugger, and the American League Players Choice Award for Outstanding Player.
By Monday night he just might cap off his historic year with one more piece of hardware.