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2,000 fun Joe Mauer facts, in honor of his 2,000 career hits

Associated Press

Associated Press

Just kidding. There are no fun Joe Mauer facts.

But golly gee willikers, we love the guy anyway. How could you not? Joe's played his whole career within a (very) long home run's distance of his hometown of St. Paul, where, as a teenager, Mauer was heralded as the best high school prospect in baseball... and football.

Joe picked hardball as his life's pursuit, and Twins fans ought to wake up every morning thankful for that. He's among the finest hitters of his generation -- Mauer's .306 career batting average ranks him sixth among active players; his .392 on base percentage sits fifth, and cracks the top 100 in baseball history -- and there's nary a reason to dislike the dude.

So what if he doesn't walk around the locker room naked and try on other guys' clothes, as Manny Ramirez was said to do, or send sexual dalliance partners home with a gift bag, as reported in Derek Jeter lore? Not every great baseball player has to have fun facts! 

On Thursday night against the Chicago White Sox, Mauer reached his 2,000th career hit with a perfectly placed seventh-inning dribbler into center field. The hit scored two runs (breathing room en route to a 4-0 Twins win) and brought the Target Field faithful to their feet for a standing ovation.

Do not mistake this moment for an old-timer taking a victory lap. At 35, Mauer is in the midst of a renaissance: Through 11 games, he's leading the league in batting (.412) and on-base plus slugging (.545), and Minnesota (7-4) is in first place in the AL Central.

Dangit, now that's fun, isn't it? 

Below, watch Joe get both his hits last night, and stick around for a most Minnesotan interview about the occasion. (The phrases "pretty special," "ya know," and "big of a deal" are all uttered in the first couple seconds.)

Never change, Joe Mauer. And don't you dare retire any time soon.