Prior to the Minnesota Twins’ current two-game winning streak, they had been unwatchable.
The Twins have had some bad teams in my life, but there’s nothing worse than watching a decent team consistently fall behind early in game thanks to consistently poor starting pitching. After awhile, you get tired of watching them fall behind 6-0 by the third inning.
But wow, how good has Joe Mauer been this season? I decided to do a little research to put some sort of historical significance to it.
After going hitless Wednesday, Mauer fell to a .380 batting average. He has 25 homers, and at his season’s pace, he’ll finish with 36 this year.
But let’s say Mauer gets a little power dry and finishes with 30 homers, just five more than he has now. Imagine if Mauer finishes the year hitting .380 with 30 homers. If it sounds crazy, that’s because it is.
In the history of Major League Baseball – not just the modern era, but the 140 years the game has been played at this level – I could find only eight guys to ever post such lofty numbers in a single season. And the vast majority who had did so in the offensive-laden 1920s and 1930s. Here’s the list: Joe DiMaggio, Babe Herman, Rogers Hornsby, Chuck Klein, Lefty O’Doul, Babe Ruth, Al Simmons and Ted Williams. It’s been done by one man in the last 70 years – Williams – and the last time he reached both totals in one season was in 1957, when he turned 39 years old!
Heck, that wouldn’t be crazy. It would be video-game crazy, the type of year you’d try to put up when playing MVP Baseball 2005.
And have I mentioned yet that he’s a catcher? The only American League catcher to win a batting title? And he’s done it twice? Should I keep going?
The Twins have spent much of the season teasing their fans. They’ll blow a team out 11-0, then follow it up with a demoralizing loss the next night.
But what Mauer’s doing is all too real. If he can keep doing it for the final 42 games of the season, Minnesotans will have seen one of the great displays of hitting in the last 50 seasons.