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Joe Mauer selected to National High School Hall of Fame

Posted: Monday, March 11, 2024 - 9:28 AM

Joe Mauer HS Headshot

Joe Mauer, 2001 graduate of Cretin-Derham Hall High School is part of the Class of 2024 National High School Hall of Fame.

He grew up on Lexington Parkway in St. Paul’s Midway neighborhood. As the youngest of three boys, he tagged along looking for opportunities to join in. No matter the sport, game or contest, he patiently waited his turn. When he had the opportunities, he left lofty impressions that stimulated discussion and visions of what might be in store for the youngster who displayed generational athletic talent. Add in equal parts respect, high morals and values, along with kindness and commitment to others, he had the makings of a fabled storybook character.   

Maybe it was a high school career where he would be selected as the national player of the year in two sports. Perhaps someday he would be the answer to trivia questions, including one with Dave Winfield and Barry Wohler as the only Minnesotans to be offered Division I scholarships in three different sports.

And into his high school days, who would ever dare to dream that he would have a professional baseball career playing for his hometown team and a journey that would lead to him becoming a rare first-ballot Hall of Famer.

Joe Mauer has indeed been that once-in-a-lifetime talent.

While Mauer has received numerous awards and recognitions during his career, two of the biggest are on the horizon. The National High School Hall of Fame will announce today that he has been selected for induction as part of the 12-member Class of 2024. The induction ceremony is scheduled for July 1 in Boston, an event held in conjunction with the National Federation of State High School Association’s Summer Meeting.

Less than three weeks later, Mauer will be enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

“This is great news!” Mauer told the League of his selection to the Indianapolis-based National High School Hall of Fame.

Mauer is the 18th Minnesotan selected to the National High School Hall of Fame and first in the Athlete category since 2018 when cross country and track and field phenom Carrie Tollefson was enshrined.

Mauer’s days at St. Paul’s Cretin-Derham Hall High School remain sacred. In 2009, on the day he was selected the American League’s MVP while playing his entire career with the Twins, Mauer was asked what he missed most about his high school days. His responses had nothing to do with championships, award or individual accolades.

In order, he responded he missed most: the bus rides with teammates, “Friday Night Lights,” eating as much pizza as he wanted and walking the hallways with friends and classmates.

He created scores of memories for others to enjoy and relish during a stellar prep career in football, basketball and baseball.

In two seasons as the Raiders starting quarterback, he compiled more than 5,500 passing yards and 73 touchdowns. He led the Raiders to two consecutive Class AAAAA football championship games, including winning it in his junior year. He was selected the USA Today national player of the year in football following his senior season.

In baseball, the do-everything Mauer never hit below .542 and struck out just once during his high school career. While he was primarily a catcher, he also excelled as a pitcher, infielder or outfielder. He hit .605 during his senior season and tied a national prep record by hitting a home run in seven consecutive games. He also played catcher for the Team USA Junior National Team. He was the 2001 Gatorade National Player of the Year following his senior season of baseball.

During the basketball seasons, Mauer was also a force. After averaging nine points per game as a sophomore, he then averaged 20 points per game over his final two prep seasons. He was a two-time all-state selection.

Mauer’s athletic prowess, selfless acclaim and humanity toward others made him instantly likeable and followers yearned for more news coverage. The St. Paul Pioneer Press assigned a full-time sports reporter to Mauer during his senior year. The only other known high school senior in the country to receive such coverage is LeBron James when he attended St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio.

While Mauer had Division I offers in each of his three sports, he gave a verbal commitment to play football at Florida State University. That didn’t pan out as he was the No. 1 selection in the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft by the Minnesota Twins. Despite opting to play baseball, Florida State remained committed to their offer if baseball didn’t pan out.

But it did.

Mauer assembled a Hall of Fame career that included an American League MVP Award, three consecutive Gold Glove Awards, four All-Star Game appearances, three batting titles and four Silver Slugger Awards.

“No doubt about it, he is a one-of-a-kind,” said Jim O’Neill, his former Cretin-Derham Hall baseball coach. “He is a very special kind of player and person. It’s an honor for all of us that got to be a part of his journey. And what a journey it has been.”

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