By: Jeffrey Zuehlke
Publisher: Lerner Classroom
Publication Date: January 2011
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: April 9, 2011
Joseph Patrick Mauer was a native of St. Paul, Minnesota, and undoubtedly he had dreams of growing up to be a Minnesota Twin. His family was sports oriented and Joe showed talent at a very early age and simply sparkled at every sport he tried. He started playing with a baseball bat at the tender age of two and in fact, he was “Kicked off his local T-ball team because he was too good.” Amazing isn’t it? Joe was a Twins fan like most of the other kids and his favorite player was Kirby Puckett. He also played football and basketball, but baseball was his favorite. He and his brothers often “played stickball on the street in front of their house.” You’ll be able to read about the “special tool” their dad invented to help them improve their batting skills.
By the time Joe hit high school he was a sizzling hot athlete in not one, but three different sports. The problem was picking the one he would stick with because undoubtedly he was a young man headed for the pros. Twins general manager, Terry Ryan, later said they’d been “tracking him since he was about fifteen” and there was “no question that Joe was talented.” You’ll read about the unusual way that Joe decided which sport to play. He had been “named the top high school player in the country” in not one sport but two! You’ll also read about Joe’s excitement on draft day, how he fared in the minor leagues, his incredible batting averages, injuries, awards, and you’ll learn many other things about this amazing athlete.
The book starts off with an action chapter when the Minnesota Twin’s were playing a game against the Red Sox. There is a mixture of both action oriented shots and those that show Joe as a young player and with his father and grandfather. Interspersed throughout the book are several small, informative sidebars. For example, in one we learn about the first vehicle he bought when he got a $5 million dollar contract. This is the type of book that will appeal to the young baseball fan, especially if they are interested in “hot” players. This is one of many in the series, “Amazing Athletes.” In the back of the book is an index, a glossary, selected career highlights, and additional recommended book and website resources to explore.
Quill says: This is a fascinating baseball bio about “one of baseball’s brightest stars,” Joe Mauer.