Gene's Blog: Cretin alums show baseball versatility
August 26, 2011
Joe Mauer has now played three different positions this season for the Minnesota Twins, but that's not a record for baseball flexibility in his own family.
Older brother Jake Mauer, a former Tommie All-American infielder, played six different positions in a full season in 2003 for the Fort Myers Miracle. Besides his primary positions at 2B and shortstop, Jake also played a few games at 3B, 1B, outfield and even one game as catcher. He had just six errors in 413 chances that season for a solid .985 fielding clip.
Mauer (shown at right) later was promoted to Class AA New Britain, but an elbow injury contributed to the end of his five-year professional playing career in 2005. He's worked as a coach and manager in the Twins' organization the last six summers.
The Mauers aren't the only Cretin-Derham Hall grads to display such flexibility in the field. Ex-Tommie All-American Buzz Hannahan played eight different positions during his nine-year minor-league career, including seven positions in a two-year Class AAA stint at Wilkes Barre/Scranton. The lone position Buzz didn’t play was catcher, and he even had one pitching appearance in 2004 at Wilkes Barre. Buzz played six different positions in 2005 at Wilkes Barre — all three outfield spots, and 2B, 3B and shortstop.
Buzz' older brother Jack, a U of M Gopher alum, is now in his fifth season in the major leagues, currently with Cleveland, his sixth pro team. Jack Hannahan has played four different positions.
The two Hannahans and three Mauer brothers have played for 26 different teams thus far in their pro careers, from the Rookie League to the major leagues. Leading that list is Jack with a resume that includes 12 teams to date -- West Michigan, Oneonta, Erie, Lakeland, Toledo, Detroit, Oakland, Sacramento, Seattle, Tacoma, Pawtucket, Cleveland.
St. Thomas is the lone Division III institution this fall that is nationally ranked in preseason polls in football, volleyball and men's and women's cross country.
UST is ranked fifth in football coming off a 12-1 season of 2010; 10th in volleyball after a 31-7 season that produced the school's first trip to the NCAA playoff finals; 30th in men's cross country, led by 2010 national runner-up Ben Sathre; and 34th in women's cross country.
Under coach Thanh Pham (shown at right), Tommie volleyball has been ranked in the top 25 for 71 of the last 72 polls dating back to Sept. 2005. Tommie football has been ranked in the D3Football.com top 10 for 18 consecutive polls dating back to 2008.
--Eight of the nine MIAC football teams will return their starting quarterback in 2011. The lone school breaking in a new face at the key position is St. John's, which graduated three-year starter Joe Boyle.
--UST's Glenn Caruso (shown at right) has accomplished something few college head coaches can claim — he's improved his victory total in each of his five seasons as a head coach. He was hired as Macalester head coach in 2006 and inherited a program that was 2-25 in the previous three seasons. His two Macalester teams went 2-7 then 4-5. Since his hiring at St. Thomas in 2008, his three Tommie teams have gone 7-3, then 11-2 and then 12-1.
--St. Thomas has introduced a new online ticket purchase option for home football and basketball games. St. Thomas football is also selling premium seats on its new Fowler Veranda, and a season-ticket package with seat-back chairs near the 50-yard line of O'Shaughnessy Stadium. Click here for more information: http://www.tommiesports.com/ftbl/news/Tickets_8-24.html
--The University of St. Thomas and WCCO Radio will begin their football partnership on Sept. 3 when the No. 5-ranked Tommies play host to Midwest Conference favorite St. Norbert College at O'Shaughnessy Stadium. WCCO will air all Tommie home and away games live on 830 AM and also offer the games on a live audio stream. Dave Lee and Joe Senser will call the action from UST's new portable press box on the north end of the Fowler Veranda. WCCO's last college football game was also at O'Shaughnessy as it called the St. Thomas vs. Bethel Division III playoff game last December.
--WCCO, which began airing promo ads this week for Tommie football, has a renown clear-channel signal that carries into parts of the Dakotas, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois and Canada. This will mark the 88th consecutive season that WCCO will produce live Saturday college football broadcasts.
--Football fans can also come out to UST's Palmer Field and O'Shaughnessy Stadium this fall to watch Cretin-Derham Hall football. The Raiders open their season here as they play host to East Ridge High on Friday Sept. 2, the first of four regular-season home games.
--Under new coach Jerry Kill, the 2011 Gopher football marketing theme is "Saturday's Coming." Do you think they were tempted to try any of these slogans... "Where there's a Kill, there's a way"... "Hey Badgers, get ready to get Killed""... or as a salute to no alcohol sales at TCF Bank Stadium, "A Kill without the 'Brew"