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Continued: Nothing ordinary about this Joe

  • Article by: PAUL LEVY , Star Tribune
  • Last update: June 29, 2006 - 1:14 AM

And in St. Paul, the kid with the original synthetic Mauer sideburns -- the kid featured with Mauer in a popular Twins' TV spot -- could only marvel at his hero's hot streak and his cheerful demeanor.

"Joe was really nice to me," said Jake Cunningham, 11. "Before we did the commercial, he came and introduced himself to me -- like I wouldn't know him. When the commercial was done, he invited me into the dugout and gave me a signed bat. "And I got to keep the sideburns. You use this stick stuff and they stay on for hours."

Doing stuff with friends

"How glamorous is Joe's life?" asked Tony Leseman, a former Cretin-Derham Hall teammate and former University of Minnesota player. "Sunday night, we watched the College World Series together [on TV]."

After going 4-for-5 against the Dodgers on Monday night, Mauer celebrated by going bowling with lifelong friend Larry Nava.

"I talk to him every day, and if I didn't watch the game that night, I won't know how he did because he never mentions a thing," Nava said. "But he always asks how my day went.

"That's just Joe. He really is a St. Paul guy."

Other St. Paul players have made it big -- Paul Molitor and Dave Winfield are in the Hall of Fame and Jack Morris is knocking on its door -- but this St. Paul guy is dating former Miss USA Chelsea Cooley. Otherwise, little has changed.

"What can you say?" asked his father, Jake Mauer. "The kid's doing well. But he's always been popular. It's been like this since he was in high school," when Mauer was the national player of the year in baseball and football.

Larry Norder, owner of Air Freight Unlimited, said Mauer still comes around to Concordia University's baseball field to watch the amateur team Norder manages.

"Joe's just Joe," Norder said. "Whether he goes 5-for-5 or 0-for-5, I'm sure he gets to sleep at night. He just doesn't go 0-for-5, that's all."

Paul Levy • 612-673-4419

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