Being awarded the American League’s Most Valuable Player Award solidifies the obvious.
Despite missing the first month of the season due to a back injury, he put together a solid season, setting career highs in numerous categories.
His numbers are not eye-popping. They are solid numbers from a teammate who led a club many wrote off once 2006 MVP Justin Morneau was shelved for the remainder of the season.
What Mauer accomplished is what many a manager can only hope for from one of his players. The 26-year-old catcher from St. Paul MN, led a squad of players whose payroll was nearly half of the overwhelming favorite Detroit Tigers, and took them to the playoffs for the third time in the last six years.
As mentioned above, Mauer’s numbers do not standout. His league leading .365 batting average won him his second straight batting title. He did however set career best numbers in homeruns (26), and runs batted in (96).
Those numbers reflect the same type that won Mo Vaughn and Dustin Pedroia, their awards in 1995 and 2008. He is a consummate professional, tremendous teammate, and leader.
Mauer’s overall ability was noticed by the voters. He received 27 of a possible 28 first place votes, handily defeating the New York Yankees combo of Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter.
Morneau believes the best is yet to come for the catcher.
“He deserves it,” Morneau told MLB.com “You look at his career right now with three batting titles at 26 years old. Some of the best players in the history of the game have won three batting titles in their whole career. I mean, you look at what he’s done — Gold Gloves, Sliver Sluggers — and he still can get better. We’re very lucky to be a part of it and watch him play. Ten years from now when we look back on it, we’ll say, ‘Wow this guy is one of the best to ever play the game.'”
Devon Teeple is an author for the Business of Sports Network, which includes the Biz of Baseball, the Biz of Football, the Biz of Basketball and the Biz of Hockey. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Devon is also available for hire or freelance opportunities.
Devon is a former student within Sports Management Worldwide’s Baseball General Manager Class. Devon is the founder of The GM’s Perspective and is a intern with The Football Outsiders and contributor with the Plymouth River Eels.