Longtime Minnesota Twins star Joe Mauer announced his retirement on Friday in a letter to fans.
The 2009 American League MVP said health and family were the primary reason he was stepping away from the game after 15 seasons.
“After much consideration, I have decided to retire from playing baseball,” Mauer said in the letter. “This decision did not come easily as baseball always has been, and always will be, one of my greatest passions. ...
“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. ... I am soon to be a father of three and I find myself thinking about my future health and its impact on my family more than I had years ago.”
Mauer, 35, will hold a formal press conference on Monday.
Mauer spent all 15 years of his career with his hometown Twins. The six-time All-Star is the only catcher in major league history to win three batting titles and had a career average of .306 with 143 homers and 923 RBIs.
Mauer’s eight-year, $184 million contract expired after the 2018 season. He batted .282 with six homers and 48 RBIs in 127 games during his final season.
Mauer said he struggled with the thought of retiring but began to lean toward walking away after getting to catch one pitch at the top of the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox in his final big-league game. It was his first time behind the plate since suffering a concussion on a foul tip on Aug. 19, 2013.
“I realized in that moment that this is how I wanted to finish my career,” Mauer said. “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.”
Mauer was the No. 1 overall pick out of Cretin-Derham Hall High in St. Paul in 2001 and reached the majors in 2004.
He won his first batting crown in 2006 with a .347 average, and won the title again two seasons later when he hit .328.
His best season was the MVP campaign in 2009 when he won the batting title while establishing career highs for batting average (.365), homers (28) and RBIs (96).
Mauer also won three Gold Gloves as a catcher, eventually moving to first base in 2014 because of the serious concussion he suffered in 2013.
Mauer also stated he was proud to play for just one team in his career.
“Thank you, Minnesota Twins, and thank you, fans, for making my career as special and memorable as it was,” Mauer said. “Because of you I can leave the game I love with a full and grateful heart.”
—Field Level Media