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MLB's next big thing: Mauer's Hall of Fame case and more

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Mauer gives tearful thank-you during retirement speech (0:35)

Joe Mauer gives an emotional thank-you to Terry Ryan for drafting him for the Twins back in 2001. (0:35)

It's always corny when a character in a movie utters the actual theme of the script, but sometimes it's acceptable. A good example is when the title character from "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" says, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

Yeah, it's hard to read the words and not roll your eyes. But Ferris was right. Time does move awfully fast. For one thing, if they made a chronologically sound sequel to that movie, the Ferris character would now be 51 years old. For another, Joe Mauer just retired. Are you kidding me? Mauer is done? Fifteen years have gone past since he debuted as the hotshot kid making a splash in his hometown? Yep. That's it for one of the greatest Twins, tearful farewell news conference and all.

The appropriate thing to do at times like this is to evaluate a newly retired star for his Hall of Fame worthiness. That's exactly what we're about to do, even though we have about five years before it really matters. One thing about that time gap we should address up front: The landscape of catching has changed, and what it will look like by the time Mauer hits the Hall ballot is impossible to say. This might skew the lens through which his career is perceived.