Early Hall of Fame votes reveal strong support for former Twins star Joe Mauer

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It will still be another month until Joe Mauer finds out if he’s ticketed for Cooperstown in July, but the former Twins catcher has garnered strong support on Hall of Fame ballots revealed publicly thus far, a good sign for his chances at entry, be it this year or in the future.

X (formerly Twitter) user Ryan Thibodaux (@NotMrTibbs) and his team, who track the publicly revealed ballots, has Mauer currently receiving 76.3 percent of the votes as of Saturday morning with 38 ballots revealed. That, of course, is a very small percentage of voters — just 9.9 percent — but is a good early indicator for Mauer, who would need to receive at least 75 percent of the vote to receive the call from the Hall of Fame.

Mauer, whose candidacy is being voted on for the first time this year, has received support on 29 of 38 ballots tracked thus far. Per Thibodaux’s tracker, an estimated 384 ballots will be cast with a player needing around 288 votes for entry.

Long-tenured members of the Baseball Writers Association of America vote on the candidates — 26 players appear on the ballot this year and voters may select up to 10 — and voting will conclude on Dec. 31 with the results revealed during a Jan. 23 show on MLB Network.

Fewer than 60 players ever have been enshrined as first-ballot hall of famers, making it a tall task for Mauer, but players often see a bump in vote percentage as their candidacy continues to be voted on in the following years. Players must receive five percent of the total vote to stay on the ballot and can remain there for up to 10 years.

Consider this: Scott Rolen was inducted into the Hall of Fame this July. In his first year on the ballot, 2018, the former third baseman received just 10.2 percent of the vote, the lowest of any player ever voted in. A year later, that number jumped to 17.2. It took six years on the ballot but Rolen finally climbed over the requisite 75 percent this year.

Former Rockies star Todd Helton first appeared on the ballot in 2019, garnering just 16.5 percent of the vote. Now in his sixth year on the ballot, Thibodaux’s tracker has him at 81.6 percent as of Saturday morning.

Point being, if Mauer, who is straddling that 75 percent mark in early voting, does not make it this year, the likelihood of him being voted in within the next couple of years seems very high.

The St. Paul native and Cretin-Derham Hall alum played his entire 15-year career for the Twins, spending 10 years behind the plate before concussion issues forced him over to first base.

During his years as a catcher, he was a three-time batting champ, three-time Gold Glover and five-time Silver Slugger Award winner. He is the only catcher in MLB history to win three batting titles, doing so in three of four years between 2006-09, the final year during which he won the American League MVP award.

While there are only a handful of catchers in the Hall of Fame, Mauer’s career bWAR (Wins Above Replacement per Baseball Reference) of 55.2 is ninth all time among catchers, higher than the average of hall of famers at the position.

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