Donald Charles “Jake” Mauer Jr., father of a trio of twins players and coaches that includes 2009 MLS Player of the Year Joe Mauer, died Tuesday of heart complications at the age of 66 at his home in Braham, Minnesota.
The family source confirmed the news.
Joe, Billy, and Jake Mauer attended Cretin-Derham Hall High School and signed baseball contracts with the Minnesota Twins. Jake the Elder and his wife, Teresa, have 10 grandchildren. The couple would have been married for 45 years this year.
“The kids and Tersa were everything to him,” said Jim O’Neill, who coached the couple’s children at Cretin Dereham Hall. “It really is the greatest story, and these people have lived it. They didn’t always have much but they were always happy. It all poured into these kids.”
Joe Mauer played 15 years with the Twins, winning AL batting titles in 2006, 2008, and 2009. He won the AL Most Valuable Player Award in 2009 after putting together perhaps the greatest year a major league player ever had—with a . 365 batting average, 28 runs batted in home runs and 96 RBIs.
A player, Jake played five seasons in the Twins organization after attending St. Louis University. Bailey, a pitcher who attended Concordia, played in the Twins’ system from 2003-2005.
O’Neill said the apples didn’t fall far from the tree.
“We played on the same circuits in St. Paul’s when we were kids,” he said. “I played against him in grade school when I was at (St.) Columba and he was at St. James’, and they always had his big son who was a really big hitter. He wasn’t much of a runner, but he was definitely a big hitter.”
“All the credit for their swings and strong arms goes to him,” O’Neal continued.
Jake Jr. and Theresa raised their children at Jake Sr.’s home on Lexington Avenue, who often watched the children while the parents worked. Jake Jr. was a trophy talker who spent his weekends coaching his sons. They’ve been so successful that John Tower, men’s basketball coach and professor of psychology, wrote an entire chapter about the couple in his 2015 book, Why Less Is More for WOSPs (Well-Intentioned, Overly-Participated Sports Parents).
“They were a very valuable family,” Tower said. “I think what sets me apart is the simplicity of the way they were raised, and I mean that in the most complementary way.”
Tower is another St. Paul native and played baseball at Cretin-Derham Hall. He said he was drawn to Jake and Teresa because their sons were on good terms despite their successes in athletics – all three were multi-sport athletes for the Raiders.
“I knew Billy and Jake as down-to-earth, down-to-earth people, and even though Joe was the best player and won batting titles, he was exactly the same,” Tower said. “I have the utmost respect for their family. These three boys had the same behavior and disposition, and that’s what prompted me to suggest to Teresa that we work on this chapter of the book.”
Jake Jr. invented A pitching machine that allowed his sons to swing year-round in the garage, which became Quickswing batting training aid.
“Their swings and strong arms are credited to their father,” O’Neal said. “He had a moxie, and his ingenuity led to him using a Quick Swing that he put in the garage.”
The Mauer family was a sporting family, O’Neill said, and one doesn’t see much anymore.
“They never went to the camps,” he said. “(Jake Jr.) coached them in the summer, just a bunch of neighborhood kids. They were playing tournaments on the weekends, but during the week it was Wiffle Ball and pickup games in the park. They started from scratch.”
Jake Jr. never made it to the kids’ high school teams — even when Joe wasn’t promoted to the varsity squad as a freshman, O’Neal said.
“He just said, ‘Joe’s going to play with his buddies on the junior team and everything will be fine,'” O’Neal said. “Obviously Joe was good enough to play with us at the university and if we needed him we could get him, but Jake was supportive Extremely. I’m sure he would say things at home, but he didn’t interfere with us in training.”
There will be a wake Tuesday at the Mueller Bies Funeral Home in Roseville from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. A funeral will be held on Wednesday at St Odilia Catholic Church in Shoreview at 11am. The visit will be at 10 am