StaTuesday: Garver and his ‘show pump’ closing in on Twins records

It’s called the “show pump.”

After hitting a home run, Minnesota Twins catcher Mitch Garver points to the bullpen in the outfield as he rounds second base before lowering his hand into a celebratory first pump.

Garver’s had a lot of opportunities to master his new home run routine this season.

Entering Tuesday’s games, the 28-year-old ranks second among MLB catchers with 23 home runs, trailing New York Yankees slugger Gary Sanchez by four. Garver’s previous career-best was seven dingers. He surpassed that number May 7 in Toronto.

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Garver is on the brink of setting a few Twins team records, too. He’s five home runs behind Joe Mauer, who set the franchise record for homers by a catcher with 28 in 2009, his MVP campaign and the final season in the Metrodome.

It’s the only time Mauer ever hit more than 13 home runs in a single season.

Garver also has to catch Earl Battey, who played 990 games for the franchise from 1960-67. Battey is responsible for several of the top power-hitting seasons for Twins catchers, including in 1960 when the Twins were still known the Washington Senators in the nation’s capital.

For what it’s worth, Javy Lopez has held the all-time single-season homer record for MLB catchers since he slugged 42 moonshots in 129 games for Atlanta in 2003. The American League mark to beat is Ivan Rodriguez’s 35 in 1999. Terry Steinbach, who is on the list below, had 34 homers as a catcher in 1996 with Oakland before playing with the Twins the next three seasons.

Single-season homers by Twins catchers (at least 50% GP as catcher)

Joe Mauer 2009 138 28
Earl Battey 1963 147 26
Mitch Garver 2019 69 23
Earl Battey 1961 133 17
Tim Laudner 1987 113 16
George Mitterwald 1973 125 16
George Mitterwald 1970 117 15
Earl Battey (WAS) 1960 137 15
Terry Steinbach 1998 124 14
Joe Mauer 2006 140 13
Tim Laudner 1988 117 13
George Mitterwald 1971 125 13
Jason Castro 2019 60 12
Terry Steinbach 1997 122 12
Brian Harper 1993 147 12
Earl Battey 1964 131 12

 As you may have noticed, Garver isn’t the only Twins catcher hitting the ball out of the park this year. Garver’s partner behind the dish, Jason Castro, has notched 12 long balls of his own.

Minnesota has seen a total of 36 taters out of its catcher position (Willians Astudillo contributed one). That has already surpassed its previous franchise record of 27 in 1963 when Battey and Paul Ratliff were manning duties being the plate. If you’re wondering why Mauer’s 2009 season wasn’t the previous mark to beat, it’s because the MVP clobbered 23 homers as a catcher, four as DH and one as a pinch hitter. We’re only counting those 23.

The Twins are one of 21 teams in big league history to tally 36+ homers from the catcher spot, and they’re not far off from the league record of 43. Four teams have hit 43 — the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers, the 1997 Los Angeles Dodgers, the 1999 New York Mets and Atlanta’s 2003 squad led by Lopez.

This means Minnesota’s catchers have 37 games to hit eight home runs and notch another power record for the Bomba Squad.

Bring on the “show pump.”