As has been well-documented since Joe Mauer returned to the Twins on the 1st of May, the dude has been displaying far greater power numbers than in seasons previous. Last year, Mauer didn't hit his fourth home run until game #78 of his season; this year he did so in game #10. In the 22 ballgames prior to his return, the Twins averaged 4.22 runs per; in the dozen since he came back, the club is scoring at a clip of 6.58 per. Given the wealth of early-season pitching concerns, the rise in plating is unfortunately necessary at this juncture to keep the boys over .500.
The long balls for Mauer aside, what's of far greater import is that he appears healthy, and he's hitting .455. While some feel the local celebration of Joe Mauer oft-nears ad nauseum proportions, the fact is that the dude's a stud and rarely ceases to amaze. As an extension of said point, to begin spinning a yarn that will no doubt be well-threaded through Minnesota time: few would be surprised if Joe Mauer achieved the luminary credential of the 3,000 hit club. As stated as his May return from injury has been, it's difficult at times to view Mauer solely in the context of the Present. So, as he clips on in New York this weekend, let's just take a peek into the Future.
Entering Thursday's Nooner (where he went 1-for-3), Mauer had 672 hits in 572 lifetime games, sporting a .320 career average. While he has never led the American League in hits, he does of course boast his two batting titles in the last three seasons.
In modern baseball history, just 27 men are distinguished members of the 3,000 hit club. For contemporary purposes, here's a look at the 20 members of "Modern" modern baseball history's 3,000 hit club - ballers that have achieved the feat since 1942. The number alongside the name recognizes how many hits they had through the first 572 games of their respective careers, as compared to Mauer:
Wade Boggs - 765
Tony Gwynn - 719
Henry Aaron - 701
George Brett - 682
Joe Mauer - 672
Rod Carew -661
Willie Mays- 658
Pete Rose - 657
Paul Molitor - 653
Carl Yastrzemski - 652
Al Kaline - 649
Cal Ripken, Jr. - 640
Eddie Murray - 629
Lou Brock - 621
Roberto Clemente- 609
Rafael Palmeiro - 607
Ricky Henderson - 591
Robin Yount - 571
Dave Winfield - 557
Craig Biggio - 550
(Employing available Game Logs, Stan Musial had 812 hits in his first 611 games)
On average, it has taken these men 2,857 games and 9,938 at-bats to reach their 3,000th hit. At his present hit pace, Mauer would accrue #3,000 in 2,554 games and 9,375 at-bats. That puts the event on track for approximately June of 2022. Mauer will be 38 years old, and would become the third St. Paul native on that celebrated list. Keep drinking that 2 % . . .
For the weekend, we watch the club's first visit to the new Yankee Stadium. But Mauer's greatness, his local legend, and his legacy, will always hold a glint of the future.
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