Players, managers talk Mauer's HOF candidacy

November 14th, 2018

MINNEAPOLIS -- It's clear how much Joe Mauer meant to the Twins organization just by looking at who showed up to his retirement news conference at Target Field on Monday.
There were former teammates, including Glen Perkins, Justin Morneau and Corey Koskie, former Twins managers Ron Gardenhire, Paul Molitor and Tom Kelly, former Twins general managers Terry Ryan and Bill Smith and former Twins greats such as Tony Oliva, Kent Hrbek and Jack Morris. The outpouring of support for Mauer came from around the league with several current and former players taking to social media to congratulate Mauer on his incredible career that saw him win the 2009 American League MVP Award, three batting titles, three Gold Gloves and five Silver Sluggers.
Mauer's player bio, stats
Here's a look at what those around the game had to say about Mauer and his 15-year career with the Twins that has officially come to an end:
Twins right-hander Jake Odorizzi:
"There's so much respect for him around the league. He's the All-American guy. You never hear a bad word about him playing on the other side of him. With the level he was able to play at, it was amazing to see him be such a humble, true-blue guy. I always respected him, playing against him, but being able to play with him and get to know him, I respect him more. I don't think there's anybody in the game I have more respect for. I'm thankful I got to play with him. The respect factor, he's No. 1 on my list, all-time."

Ryan, who was GM when Mauer was taken No. 1 overall in the 2001 Draft:
"Joe was a great representative for the organization, the state of Minnesota and the game in general. He's the same guy he was the day we signed him, even with all the pressure. He hasn't changed much. He's a humble guy with a wealth of talent. He's calm, never panics and he treats people with respect. I know his parents, Jake and Theresa, did a wonderful job raising that young man."
Gardenhire, who managed Mauer from 2004-14 and now manages the Tigers:
"It's hard to watch him step down because he's still playing at a really high level. And I do have a job in Detroit if he needs it. I'll give him a two-year deal right now. But I'm happy for him. He's going out his way and not a lot of people can do that. Just a class act, one of the nicest people you'll meet in the world, and he also meant so much in this clubhouse and out on the field for his organization. I was fortunate as a manager to have the opportunity to manage a guy like him. He was easy. I'd be screwing him up if I talked to him about hitting or anything."
Morneau, the 2006 AL MVP who played with Mauer from 2004-13:
"He was as special of a hitter as there ever was. He didn't chase pitches. He didn't swing at a pitch he didn't like. He seemed to find the barrel every time he swung. And as good as he was, he did it as a catcher. And that's why I think he should be in the Hall of Fame."

Hrbek, a Twins Hall of Famer who, like Mauer, grew up in Minnesota:
"Class act. That's all I have to say. I don't even know where to go with that, other than that he was a class act. They're going to miss him out on the field, not just being around the team, but he can still play. The concussion has a lot to do with his decision. But they're going to miss him. There was some pretty good stock in St. Paul, with Molitor and Jack Morris coming from the same area as Joe."
Molitor, a Baseball Hall of Famer from St. Paul who managed Mauer from 2015-18:
"The naysayers will talk about maybe not enough career numbers, a little decline at the end, but there's going to be a lot of numbers that put him right in the mix with some of the Hall of Famers. So I'm obviously a little bit biased. I'd love to see it happen. The debate will be ongoing for the next handful of years, but it would be nice to add a fourth [Hall of Famer] to the east side of the river, [joining Molitor, Morris and Dave Winfield]."
Perkins, a three-time All-Star from Minnesota who played with Mauer from 2006-17:
"It's incredible what he was able to do. And the injuries he went through, from the body injuries to the head injuries, to be able to hit the way he did. One of those things could happen to another guy, and they are done or never the same. A month into his first season, he hurt his knee, and he still had this career and caught for as long as he did. It's incredible. He's a legend, and that's what legends do."