Mauer 2nd QC’er to win MVP!

Congratulations to Joe Mauer, who won the American League MVP Award  today in nearly unanimous fashion.

And deservedly so. Did you know he is the first player to lead his league in hitting, on-base percentage and slugging since George Brett did it with the Royals in 1980? He hit .365/.444/.587, leading all of baseball in hitting and on-base percentage while only Albert Pujols (.658) and Prince Fielder (.602) had better slugging numbers. Wow. I’m not sure there is any more dominant of a way to take home the hardware. He received 27 of a possible 28 first-place votes. The only exception was reporter Keizo Konishi of the Kyodo News who decided to vote for Miguel Cabrera. Go figure.

Of course, we must also take this moment to reflect on the historical impact on the Quad Cities. Mauer spent the 2002 season with the Bandits, hitting .302 with 23 doubles and 62 RBI in 110 games as a 19-year-old in his first full season. Not a bad start for the St. Paul native that was drafted first overall the previous season.

Oddly enough, the real star of the 2002 River Bandits was Jason Kubel. He hit a blistering .321 while blasting 17 homers and driving in 69 runs in 115 games.

Just one year earlier, the River Bandits were led by another of their teammates – Justin Morneau. Morneau, then just a young 21-year-old from Canada, hit .356 and slugged .597 with 12 homers, 31 extra-base hits and 53 runs batted in after just 64 games. He beat Mauer to the punch, winning the AL MVP Award in 2006.

Those two are now the only former River Bandits that have gone on to win MVP awards in the major leagues. Although we can give a round-about shout-out to former QC manager Keith Mitchell, whose cousin Kevin was the NL MVP with the Giants in 1989. OK… maybe that’s a bit of a stretch.

Sill, you’ve gotta love a quick timeout for This Day in Bandits History!

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