BEST LOCAL BOY MADE GOOD Minneapolis 2007 - Joe Mauer
Readers' Choice: Joe Mauer
Is there anyone more embarrassingly cornpone in these parts than the face of the local baseball franchise? Let us count the ways: The quasi-muttonchops were so over about 15 years ago. The Kid endorses Land O' Lakes milk by barely muttering the motto "Pour It On." He generally answers any question with the same "take it as it comes" refrain that was a cliché when Bull Durham came out 20 years ago. Yet we love our local lunkhead, the latest in a long line of local ballers—from Paul Molitor to Kent Hrbek—who fit perfectly with the home team. There are plenty of local heroes who have left us, like Dylan and Prince (who deserves a special shout-out for his Super Bowl halftime performance). But with Mauer, the St. Paul native and Cretin grad who took his millions and bought a house in his hometown, you get the feeling he'll never leave. Besides, he is unfailingly polite and duly humble—no doubt a result of his Minnesota upbringing. His batting title and unlimited potential as one of baseball's youngest rising stars are impressive, but more importantly, our own Joltin' Joe is homegrown all the way.