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Twins catcher Joe Mauer

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2day's 2 cents: How to measure if somebody is "one of us"

  • September 8, 2011 - 11:47 PM
It is common knowledge -- or at least it is commonly said -- that Minnesotans love to claim celebrities (including athletes) as being "one of us." When it comes to the status of players, however, there are varying OOU levels. We have attempted to parse them out in a handy 10-level guide. Feel free to send other suggestions to mrand@startribune.com:

LEVEL 1

The most tenuous connection -- Like his father might have driven through here once 50 years ago. Or, slightly better, the case of Marlins pitcher Josh Johnson, who was born in Minnesota -- and even attended the Twins' 1987 World Series victory parade -- but left the state at age 5. The better you are, the more we will cling to this connection.

LEVEL 2

The player with no previous connections to the state, but who arrives here mid-career and flourishes as an honorary "one of us." Example: Andrew Brunette.

LEVEL 3

A legend and former rival who spent years tormenting us, only to later become an exalted (at least for an important stretch of time) member of the Minnesota covenant. Examples: Brett Favre and Jim Thome.

LEVEL 4

A player with no high school or pro connections to the state, but one who excelled in college and is therefore always linked to Minnesota. Example: Laurence Maroney.

LEVEL 5

Similarly, a player with high school connections but no college or pro connections. Example: Cole Aldrich.

LEVEL 6

An athlete with high school and college connections, but no pro connections. Example: Marion Barber III and Kris Humphries.

LEVEL 7

A player with no connections to the state before arriving here as a professional player, but one who became such an icon within the sport and within a local fan base that it gradually became impossible to identify him any other way than as a Minnesotan. Example: Kirby Puckett and Kevin Garnett (pre-trade).

LEVEL 8

The venerated athlete who is from here, played here in high school and college, then returned here at some point in his pro career. Example: Paul Molitor and Dave Winfield.

LEVEL 9

The rare triple play -- any athlete who played in high school, college and the pros in Minnesota without playing at the top level anywhere else. This rating goes to the top of the list if the player achieves superstardom. Example: Glen Perkins.

LEVEL 10

The rare homegrown athlete who rises to stardom with his hometown team. Example: Joe Mauer and Kent Hrbek.

MICHAEL RAND

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