Congratulations to Minnesota Twins' catcher Joe Mauer, who won the American League MVP award for his efforts during the 2009 campaign. Mauer won in a nearly unanimous voting this year, the only other first place vote going to Miguel Cabrerra of the Tigers. That vote was from a voter out of the Seattle market. Not sure about that one...
Joe Mauer, in this writer's humble opinion, is the best catcher since Johnny Bench, and a player who will surely see his bronze likeness immortalized in Cooperstown following the end of his career.
Mauer is up for free agency after this next season, but I don't see him leaving his friends and family in Minnesota. He is an old school sort of guy, a player of the same caliber as George Brett (entire career played in Kansas City) and the one and only Rockin' Robin Yount (entire career played in Milwaukee). You just don't see guys like that anymore, and I just can't see Mauer leaving Minnesota.
I bring this up because I am connected to Joe Mauer in a loose way. My youth, I suppose, shall show itself in the following lines (that's right folks, this writer is a mere 27 years old).
In 1997, while a sophomore at Saint Agnes High School in St. Paul, MN (I commuted every morning from God's country of Wisconsin, folks) I had the pleasure of playing against young Mr. Mauer in a basketball tournament one weekend. His Raiders of Cretin-Derham Hall defeated my Aggies in a not-so-close contest, but history was set in motion. I went on to a wonderful college career of studying, later joining the Navy in defense of this great nation, finally ending up as a maintenace technician for the #1 steel producing company in the United States. Joe Mauer, however, followed a different path. He decided to use his athletic abilities and pursue a career in baseball. That decision has turned out okay.
A couple years ago, my best friend called me up and filled me in on some more information regarding Mr. Mauer. It turns out, our high school prep Alma Mater was in dire need of financial consideration, forced with the decision of possibly closing its doors. The school needed some $3 million to stay in operation. A wealthy alum (who financed this writer's entire senior year's worth of tuition through a student-athlete scholarship) donated nearly half of that sum out of his generosity. The remaining $1 million + was still up in the air. A quick phone call ended that problem.
It turns out, Joe Mauer's father attended my high school back in the day. A short phone call to his son, explaining the circumstances, was all the school needed. A few days later, the school recieved a personal check from Joe Mauer allowing it to stay in operation.
So again, congrats to Joe Mauer for winning the 2009 American League MVP Award. And thank you, again, for helping my alma mater provide a great education to young people in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.