Joe Mauer fought back tears as he announced his retirement Monday in front of dozens of media members, former teammates and coaches at Target Field.
"There is no where else I ever wanted to be," said Mauer, repeating the frequently in a speech of thanks to everyone who supported him during his illustrious 15-year career with the Twins.
Mauer began his speech by thanking his parents, grandparents, wife and children, and then singled out numerous people – many of whom were in attendance – including former Twins general manager Terry Ryan for drafting him with the No. 1 overall pick in 2001.
"I want to thank you for taking a chance on a St. Paul kid back in 2001. It means more to me than you'll ever know."
In his letter to fans published last week, Mauer said his decision to call it a career had a lot to do with the fear of long-term health risks that come with concussions, and admitted that the concussion he suffered while diving for a foul ball in May was the first time he seriously considered retirement.
"The unknown. Not knowing when you try to ride a bike that everything's going to be ok. That's what's so difficult with concussions, it's different for everything. At that time I wasn't sure if I was able to come back and do what I love."
A severe concussion changed Mauer's career in 2013, forcing him to move from catcher to first base, and possibly altering his vision and ability to see the ball the same way he could when he became the first catcher in American League history to win a batting title, which he did three times.
"Brought me back to 2013 and a lot of the struggles I faced then," he said of his concussion in May. "I worked so hard to get back to playing and finishing this year out, and I'm thankful that I was able to do that."
Mauer, happy with his decision to retire, said he'll stay busy with the birth of his third child any day now. Once the smoke settles he'd like to stay connected with the Twins, possibly as a coach or member of the front office.
"I definitely want to be connected. This organization has been a family to me. What capacity my role going forward, I'm not sure," he said. "There will be some conversations hopefully down the road."
"I don't see this as a farewell," he added.
You can watch Mauer's full press conference right here.