Previous Page 2 of 4 Next

Continued: Twins: What can Mauer do for an encore?

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Last update: March 30, 2007 - 2:11 PM

Tony Oliva

Total batting titles: three

First: 1964, at age 25

Second: 1965, at age 26

Last: 1971, at age 32.

Will a batting title stunt Mauer's growth as a power hitter?

When Oliva hit .323 to win the AL batting title in 1964 -- along with Rookie of the Year honors -- he hammered 32 home runs.

The next year, he won another batting title, hitting .321, but a knuckle injury limited him to 16 home runs. He settled in as a steady hitter who averaged 21.5 home runs over his next six seasons, at a time long before baseball's home run explosion.

Oliva was a much different hitter than Mauer, more of a free swinger famous for throwing his bat at pitches and still getting hits.

"[Mauer] doesn't have to do that," Oliva said. "He's able to take those tough pitches [for] balls. I swing at a lot of balls -- and hit it. I think the lower the better, and when it was low, I smoked those balls.

"So we're different. They tried to make adjustments. They try to make good pitches to you. But when you're a good hitter, it doesn't matter."

Mauer's 6-5 frame and his rare ability to make consistently solid contact leave people drooling over his power potential. But after hitting nine home runs in 2005, his total jumped to just 13 last season.

"Remember, he's only 23 years old," Oliva said. "He's going to get a little stronger. He's going to get a little smarter.

"It's very hard to do better than he did last year. But I think he'll be able to hit more home runs, with time."

Mauer said he realizes there are certain counts (2-0, 3-1, etc.) when he should look for a certain pitch in a certain zone and try to crush it.

In Wednesday's spring opener against Boston, Mauer launched a 2-1 fastball from Julian Tavarez over the left field wall for a three-run homer. It was an opposite-field blast that showed just how powerful Mauer can be. He hit balls just like it last season, but perhaps this one was an omen.

"I found out when I try to do something more, I just get into bad habits," Mauer said. "I'm not really trying to do anything different. The more times you see guys, the better idea you have, and you might know when to take a chance.

"When I say take a chance, I mean look for a certain pitch."

  • related content

  • Video: It's baseball season -- somewhere

    Saturday March 3, 2007

    It may be snowy in Minnesota, but in Fort Myers, Fla., Minnesotans are sitting in the sun and soaking...

  • Twins Champs

    Saturday March 3, 2007

    Joe Mauer became the 12th Twins batting champ -- the first since Kirby Puckett (shown) in 1989 -- since the...

  • ... Live From Fort Myers

    Saturday March 3, 2007

    Surgery could be Ford's next optionLew Ford appears headed for more knee surgery. The Twins outfielder tried running on his...

  • Bonser gets blasted as Reds romp to win

    Saturday March 3, 2007

    SARASOTA, FLA. - Four games into spring training, the Twins have looked awful. And those were just the moments when...

  • Phenoms

    Saturday March 3, 2007

    Joe Mauer joined some very exclusive company last summer when he won a batting title at age 23. According to...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
Final123456789RHE
Minnesota101000010372
Kansas City «00002040X682
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:Y.Ventura(8-8) L:C.Thielbar(2-1) S:G.Holland (29)
HR: MIN- D.Santana (4) KAN- None

ADVERTISEMENT

Chicago WSox - WP: R. Belisario 7 FINAL
Detroit - LP: J. Soria 4
Colorado - LP: P. Hernandez 1 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Arrieta 3
St. Louis - WP: S. Miller 6 FINAL
San Diego - LP: O. Despaigne 2
Philadelphia - WP: A. Bastardo 10 FINAL
Washington - LP: G. Gonzalez 4
LA Angels - WP: H. Santiago 1 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: R. Webb 0
Seattle - WP: J. Beimel 6 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: B. Shaw 5
Cincinnati - WP: J. Cueto 3 FINAL
Miami - LP: T. Koehler 1
Minnesota - LP: C. Thielbar 3 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura 6
Toronto - WP: A. Sanchez 6 FINAL
Houston - LP: C. Qualls 5
Pittsburgh - LP: J. Locke 4 FINAL
Arizona - WP: O. Perez 7
Atlanta - LP: J. Teheran 1 FINAL
Los Angeles - WP: C. Kershaw 2
NY Giants 8/3/14 7:00 PM
Buffalo
Winnipeg 27 FINAL
Hamilton 26
Toronto 8/1/14 6:00 PM
Montreal
Brt Columbia 8/1/14 9:00 PM
Calgary
Saskatchewan 8/2/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/7/14 7:30 PM
Winnipeg
Edmonton 8/8/14 6:00 PM
Montreal
Hamilton 8/8/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/9/14 6:30 PM
Calgary
Atlanta 85 FINAL
Tulsa 75
Phoenix 67 FINAL
Minnesota 75
New York 74 FINAL
Chicago 87
Indiana 76 FINAL
Seattle 67
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Should the Twins replace Ron Gardenhire?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close