COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – Team USA alumni Todd Helton (1993 CNT) and Joe Mauer (1999 & 2000 18U; 2003 & 2013 Pro) have been elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, as announced by President of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Josh Rawitch, on Tuesday.
Helton and Mauer become the 10th and 11th USA Baseball alumni to be elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Helton joins Paul Molitor, Frank Thomas, and Dave Winfield as former members of the Collegiate National Team to earn Hall of Fame honors, while Mauer becomes the first Team USA alum to enter the Hall after playing for USA Baseball at both the youth and professional level.
Before beginning a 17-year, Hall-of-Fame career with the Colorado Rockies, Helton spent the 1993 summer on USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team. Playing alongside future big leaguers–including A.J. Hinch and Todd Walker–Helton had the second-highest batting average on the team, batting .352 with 10 doubles, two home runs, and 24 RBIs over 33 games. The U.S. had a busy summer in 1993, securing a silver medal at the International Cup and competing in the World University Games, the 22nd USA vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Series, and the World Championships Qualifier. Overall, Helton and Team USA owned a 30-16 record that summer.
After returning to Tennessee for two more seasons, Helton was selected in the first round of the MLB Draft by the Rockies. The first baseman made his big-league debut in 1997 before becoming a staple in the Rockies’ lineup for the next 16 seasons, including five consecutive All-Star campaigns from 2000-2004. Helton finished second in National League Rookie of the Year voting in 1998 before bursting onto the scene in 2000, batting a league-leading .372 with 42 home runs, 59 doubles, and 147 RBIs. He received MVP votes in each season from 2000-2004, including finishes of fifth in 2000, ninth in 2001, and seventh in 2003. Helton batted over .300 in 12 of his 16 full big league campaigns, finishing his career with a .316 average, 369 home runs, and 1,406 RBIs. He is the franchise leader in most offensive statistical categories for the Rockies, including games played, at-bats, runs, hits, total bases, doubles, home runs, RBIs, and walks.
A five-time Team USA alum, Mauer spent time with both the 18U National Team and the Professional National Team throughout his illustrious career. Mauer played for the 18U squad in 1999 and 2000, first helping the U.S. secure gold at the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) XVIII Junior Baseball World Championship before returning for two stints with Team USA in 2000. Mauer batted .342 at the 2000 Junior Pan American Games and then followed that by leading the stars and stripes with a .559 average (second-highest in program history) to go along with a home run and 15 RBIs en route to a silver medal at the IBAF XIX Junior Baseball World Championship. After being selected with the first overall pick by the Minnesota Twins in the 2001 MLB Draft, Mauer again represented Team USA by appearing on the 2003 Professional National Team. Ten years later, Mauer played for the United States at the 2013 World Baseball Classic, where he tied for the team lead with nine hits and two doubles. Overall, Mauer batted .416 (47-for-113) with seven doubles, four triples, a home run, and 27 RBIs over 30 games played in the red, white, and blue.
Mauer found similar success on the diamond as the backstop for the Minnesota Twins for 15 seasons. The six-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glover was a consistent producer in the Twins’ lineup, owning a career .306 average and reaching base at a .388 clip while cranking 143 home runs and driving in 923 runs. After making his MLB debut in 2004, Mauer put together his first All-Star season in 2006 when he won the league’s batting title with a .347 average. He was named the American League’s Most Valuable Player in 2009 thanks to a league-leading .365 average and .444 on-base percentage, which both currently stand as the highest batting average and on-base percentage for a catcher in a single season in league history. That year, Mauer also crushed 28 home runs and won a Gold Glove behind the plate. He finished in the top ten of MVP voting for the third year in a row in 2010 before notching two more All-Star seasons in 2012 and 2013. Overall, Mauer’s career on-base percentage is the highest among major league catchers (min. 500 games played) and he still holds the record for most batting titles by a catcher in MLB history (3).
Helton and Mauer, along with Adrián Beltré, will join 2017 World Baseball Classic Manager Jim Leyland in the National Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2024. The group will officially be inducted into the Hall on July 21, 2024, during a ceremony in Cooperstown, New York.