Nick Punto, the seedy former Minnesota Twins infielder who started with a clap in group chat before the charity event, gave him some advice he couldn’t repeat. Hall of Fameer Jim Thome held him a healthy cheer.
“Jim Thome said, ‘You didn’t come all the way from California to lose this thing, did you?’ “, Plouffe recalled. “I said, ‘No sir, Jim. I didn’t, so I went there and I won. ‘
On his 35th birthday, Plouffe prevailed 3-2 in the finals in the home runs against the organizer Joe Mauer. After that, during Plouffe’s media scramble, Mauer came along jokingly to say he let the former third baseman win because it was his birthday.
The Mauer and Friends Kids Classic brought many nostalgic moments – Punto slid headfirst into a base, longtime former manager Ron Gardenhire kicked dirt near home plate, and Mauer and Justin Morneau were among the home runs that hit the stands. More importantly, it raised nearly $ 350,000 for Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, something that Joe and Maddie Mauer care about.
“I know the ticker has gone up pretty well,” said Joe Mauer. “It was a great day for Gillette Children’s and we introduced Gillette.”
Mauer’s commitment to the hospital dates back to 2004 and he usually hosts an annual event. This year, however, it looked different as they worked to develop something that would match the potential COVID-19 protocols that may still be around.
The idea of the home run derby was invented by Morneau, said Mauer. Morneau, who won the 2008 Major League Baseball Home Run Derby, was just shy on Tuesday and was ousted by Plouffe in the semifinals. Garrett Jones, who scored the most home runs in the first two rounds, lost 6-2 to Mauer in the semifinals.
“I think I just ran out of gas in the semi-finals,” said Mauer. “That was all I had left. But no, it was fun. It worked out great. We imagined it would be a lot of fun and I think we exceeded expectations. “
The event brought together 16 participants, from former Twins stars – Joe Nathan, Brian Dozier and Glen Perkins were also among the participants – to Wild Forward Zach Parise to former Viking Chad Greenway … and even a doctor from the hospital.
Golf was also on show at the former twins group’s reunion on Monday, and Plouffe joked afterward that many chiropractors were being called for “lots of rotation for all of us old boys”.
“If Joe does things with the children’s hospital, every time he asks me something, I’ll do it,” said Plouffe. “It’s a brotherhood and one of the better ones in the big leagues.”
Mauer has already thought about making the home run derby an annual event. And if he does, he’s sure Plouffe will be the first in the group chat to hand out a bit of trash talk – but it’s more than worth listening for for the cause.
“Just seeing how it all comes together and the planning that my wife Maddie and I have done over the past year is trying to do something and get the word out about Gillette Children’s, ‘yes, yes, yes’ and there were a lot of people who wanted to come out and join in and just couldn’t make it, so I’m glad it went that way, ”said Mauer.