Salvador Perez was in the Kansas City lineup and batting third Tuesday night. This would be his 90th game at Target Field, which is second for a visiting player to Miguel Cabrera, now a stationary target with 96 played here.

Perez had 21 home runs, more than any opponent in the ballpark's 15 seasons, and 60 RBI, four fewer than leader Cabrera.

He was asked in the visitors clubhouse before the game what he liked about Target Field and said:

"Everything. It's a great ballpark. And if you hit the ball well, it will carry."

A strong case can be made that Hall of Fame voters (I've been one for decades) and the various veterans committees that vote players into Cooperstown shrine have not put enough value into the unique grind of catching.

Look up Jorge Posada's numbers over the 14 seasons that he did a large share of the Yankees' catching, was a productive hitter, made five All-Star teams, and he didn't reach the 5% of the vote needed to remain on the ballot after his first year (2016).

The newer voters that have arrived since then as a group do not have as stringent of a view of what makes a Hall of Famer, and aren't tied to the idea there is something sacred in being a "First Ballot" Hall of Famer.

That became clear when our local product, Joe Mauer, was not made to do a few years of penance for closing his career with less production at first base. He made it on the first ballot for 2024 with four votes over the required 75%.

What was your opinion of Mauer going in on the first ballot?

"Yeah, Joe Mauer … he was the best," Perez said. "We got to know each other. When he had injuries and moved to first base, we used to talk a lot when I was there."

Where "Salvy" was often in Target Field, of course.

It was suggested that Mauer's immediate election could make it easier for extraordinary catchers such as himself to become Hall of Famers on the first ballot.

"I hope so," Perez said, and then mentioned that St. Louis' Yadier Molina, retired after last season, should be receiving that honor ahead of him.

Molina caught 2,184 games for the Cardinals before retiring at age 41. He was a competitive hitter and a 10-time All-Star as an true ironman catcher.

Perez reached 1,233 games in catching on Tuesday night. Mauer's total was 921 before concussions moved him.

The Royals equaled the worst record in franchise history at 56-106 in 2023. Those back-to-back World Series in 2014 and 2015, with Perez as the MVP in the five-game defeat of the Mets in '15, were far in the review mirror.

As has been reported often, Perez met with General Manager J.J. Picollo before the trading deadline. He wanted to find out if the Royals had a plan to turn it around in the near future.

Perez' preference was to stay in Kansas City, where he had been named the team's fourth-ever captain (first since 2007), but only if management was committed to an upgrade.

The Royals were 17-39 after 56 games a year ago. They are now 34-22 after a 4-2 loss to the Twins on Tuesday.

"This is 100 percent better," Perez said. "It's fun, with these young players, and some older guys to help."

The Royals have been keeping Perez in the lineup by using him at first base a share of the time. He moved to first Tuesday after Vinnie Pasquantino departed because of an injury.

"I would rather catch," Perez said. "That is where I always want to be."

A:J. Pierzynski, a true catching ironman in his 16 full seasons, was asked by phone if Perez fits that description.

"Yadier Molina was the last true one, I'd say … the last ever, because they don't allow a catcher to be that anymore," Pierzynski said. "Salvy has been close to it, but he's had some injuries, and they have used DH and first base to keep his bat in the lineup without catching every day.

"Salvy is a great player, a great guy, and I'd say he's on track to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He's 34. He's got a few years ahead of him.

"The only guy I see coming to be his equal in catching most of the games and being a great player is J.T. Realmuto with the Phillies. As a catcher who tried to be there every day, I have a lot of respect for Salvador Perez."