CEDAR RAPIDS — There he was holding his youngest son, Andy, on his lap. There he was a short time later out in the Kids Zone at Veterans Memorial Stadium watching Andy and siblings Lauren and Jake play in the bouncy house.
You want to know why former Cedar Rapids Kernels manager Jake Mauer isn’t in professional baseball anymore? There you go.
“I miss the guys,” Mauer said. “I miss being around, being around the boys and competing and games and all that stuff. But there was so much more that I was missing back home with these kids growing up that now I get to be a part of.”
Mauer was one of four people inducted Wednesday night into the Cedar Rapids Baseball Hall of Fame. Former players Hector Cruz and Jerry Reuss also were honored, as was longtime board of directors member (and former batboy) Gary Keoppel.
The Kernels lost to Great Lakes, 6-2.
Mauer was skipper here the first four seasons Cedar Rapids and the Minnesota Twins partnered and holds the franchise’s modern-day record (since 1949) for victories with 316. He took the Kernels to the Midwest League playoffs all four seasons, including the 2015 finals.
He managed one more year here after that, then won a Southern League championship with the Chattanooga Lookouts in 2017 before deciding he needed to be home in the Twin Cities with his wife, Rachel, and their children.
Mauer’s day job is helping run a couple of his family’s automobile dealerships in the Cities. His other job now is coaching his daughter’s fast-pitch softball team and ferrying around his sons to their various athletic endeavors.
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Lauren Mauer is 10, Jake 8 and Andy 5. Billy and Jake’s youngest brother, of course, is Joe Mauer, who just retired after a great playing career with the Twins.
“My wife took care of everything,” Jake said. “She would never say you’ve got to come back home, that is was too much for her. She would never say that. But it was just getting to the point where ... last year, for instance, was the first time I ever saw my son play ball. Ever. So it was nice to just get back home and get back into that routine, I guess you could put it.”
Jake Mauer was drafted by the Twins out of the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., in 2001 and played until beginning a coaching career in the organization in 2005. He won a lot of ballgames as a manager, developed a lot of players along the way and impressed everyone with his kind and personable demeanor.
Could we see him return to the game once the kids are older? You never know.
“The travel, the bus rides and all that, that would be tough to do,” he said. “But if the situation was right, and it made sense professionally and with the kids and my wife, I would definitely get back in.”
The Kernels (51-38, 12-7) saw an eight-game winning streak snapped, with Great Lakes scoring a go-ahead run in the sixth and adding three more in the seventh. Trevor Casanova homered for Cedar Rapids.
The teams play again Thursday night at 6:35.
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