Former Twin Michael Cuddyer says Joe Mauer “was always gracious”

Michael Cuddyer spent eight seasons as a teammate of Joe Mauer with the Twins and saw Mauer win three American League batting titles and the 2009 AL MVP in that time. But it wasn’t Mauer’s on-the-field success that Cuddyer focused on Friday night during an appearance on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM.

“I can’t think of a single person who represented an organization, a community and his city as well as Joe did,” Cuddyer said of the St. Paul native. “That’s what is so unique about the situation. Growing up in St. Paul, obviously, being a huge Twins fan, being entrenched in the community, getting drafted by the Twins No. 1 overall, making such a huge impact early in his career and his historical run as a catcher in a city where he grew up in. And then to represent it the way he did.

“You never heard bad things talked about him. He was always gracious to anybody who ever came up to him and gave back to the city, gave back to the community. Checked all the boxes. He’s the person you want your son or daughter to look up to and he’s been that for so long in that area and will continue to be. That’s what is so cool about him and the situation is he’s not going to be leaving that area and that city. That’s his home and he’s going to be somebody for everybody to look up to for forever.”

Cuddyer retired after playing for the New York Mets in 2015 and has served as a special instructor for the Twins. Cuddyer wasn’t the only former Twins player who acknowledged Mauer’s retirement Friday.

Former Twins closer Glen Perkins, who was born in St. Paul and attended Stillwater High School, knew Mauer long before they became teammates with the Twins. Perkins, who retired after the 2017 season, took to Twitter to share a couple of photos of the two, including one long before they reached the big leagues.