A first baseman, now retired, for the New York Yankees. He wore number 23, which is also now retired, and has a plaque in Monument Park in his honor. Known as "The Hit Man" and "Donnie Baseball," this captain set the major-league baseball record for most grand slams in a season (6) and frequently led the team in total hits. Unfortunately, his performance dropped like a stone in later years, and he left the team just before the Yankees won four World Series championships in a span of five years. To this day, he is my favorite player that I have seen first-hand, and he even appears on my aptly named Don Mattingly Visa card that I proudly carry in my wallet, thanks to the fine folks at MBNA America.

Although I loved the guy as a player, he apparently doesn't stand much of a chance of being elected into the Hall of Fame. Maybe the Veterans Committee will help him out, like they did to Phil Rizzuto.

Don Mattingly was a deadly combination when batting, a power hitter with a high batting average. However, one cannot overlook, the aptly nicknamed, Donnie Baseball's defensive presence. Mattingly was a powerhouse on a Yankees team that did not have much to work with. He was the anchor, the tenth player in Yankees history to be a captain, a right which he earned.

Don Mattingly was born on April 20, 1961 in Evansville, Indiana, where he currently resides with his wife and three children. In high school, Don played a variety of sports, including baseball, basketball and football. His older brother ended up playing in the NFL for the New York Giants. Don, on the other hand, went into baseball. He was drafted by the Yankees in the 19th round of the 1979 free-agent draft. Many of the scouts thought that he would opt for college instead of the big-leagues. Also, they thought he was too slow a runner for the major leagues, and would not make it past double, or triple, A ball in the minor leagues.

Don Mattingly did not opt to go to college. Instead, he headed into New York's farm system, and began to tear up opposing pitchers. At the end of his five years in the minor leagues, Don had a batting average of .322, meaning he had a hit in just under every third at bat. He was called up to the majors in 1982, and saw very minimal playing time. He ended up going back down to the minor leagues for 43 games in 1983, only to be called up again later. He played solid baseball for the rest of the season, and prepared to make 1984 his break out year.

By the end of the 1984 season, every baseball fan had heard the name Don Mattingly. It was his first season at first base, and the new position did not affect Mattingly behind the plate. He hit a very strong .343 average with 23 home runs on the season. He barely beat out teammate Dave Winfield for the batting title in the last game of the season. Winfield finished the season with a .340 batting average. Don also hit 100 RBI for the first of five consecutive seasons.

He continued his stroke in 1985, and while the Yankees weren't producing wins, Mattingly was producing hits. Don improved in almost every batting category, and his defense remained top-notch. A the end of the season, Don easily won the American League most valuable player award, becoming the first player from a non-championship team to win since 1978. In the next season, he finished second in the MVP voting behind then Boston Red Sox pitcher Roger "Asshole" Clemensnote.

While the 84 and 5 seasons were the height of Don's career, he did not fall of the face of the earth. His defensive play never faltered. On July 18, 1987 Don hit his 10th home run in eight consecutive games, a record still unbroken in today's game of longball. He was also the last player to homer in 8 consecutive games until Jim Thome smacked dingers in 10 consecutive games as a Cleveland Indian in the 2002 season. Later in the 1987 season, Don Mattingly hit his 6th grand slam on the season. This record remains unbroken.

In 1991, Mattingly was benched and fined $250 for refusing to cut his hair, which had grown down to his shoulders. Yankees owner George Steinbrenner also benched and fined three other players for "hair violations." In 1992, Don appeared in the Homer At The Bat episode of The Simpsons. He played himself as one of the 9 players Mr. Burns hires to play against a rival Nuclear Power Plant's softball team. Mattingly was kicked off the team for refusing to shave his side burns... hrmmm.

Don missed the entire 1996 season due to back problems that saw him missing time in the previous season. After the 96 season, Don made his retirement official on January 22, 1997. Don Mattingly day was held on August 31, 1997 to celebrate Donnie Baseball's career. His number was retired, making him the 14th Yankee to have his number retired.

After his playing career ended, he took up coaching, spending several years as Joe Torre's hitting coach and later bench coach with the Yankees. Torre was let go from the Yankees following the 2007 season, then promptly became the new manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, taking Mattingly west with him.

Mattingly was promoted to manager of the Dodgers when Joe Torre retired after the 2009 season.

Number: 23
Positions: 1st Base, though he did play a very little outfield and one game of second base.
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 200 pounds.
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
All-Star team selections: 6 (1984 to 1989)

Statistics:

Minor Leagues
Year Team         G  AB  R  H  2B 3B HR RBI   BA BB SO SB
1979 Oneonta     53 166 20  58 10  2  3  31 .349 30  6  2
1980 Greensboro 133 494 92 177 32  5  9 105 .358 59 33  8
1981 Nashville  141 547 74 173 35  4  7  98 .316 64 55  4
1982 Columbus   130 476 67 150 24  2 10  75 .315 50 24  1
1983 Columbus    43 159 35  54 11  3  8  37 .340 29 14  2
Major Leagues
Year Team G   AB   R   H  TB 2B 3B HR RBI   BA  SLG BB SO SB CS
1982 NYY   7  12   0   2   2  0  0  0   1 .167 .167  0  1  0  0
1983 NYY  91 279  34  79 114 15  4  4  32 .283 .409 21 31  0  0
1984 NYY 153 603  91 207 324 44  2 23 110 .343 .537 41 33  1  1
1985 NYY 159 652 107 211 370 48  3 35 145 .324 .567 56 41  2  2
1986 NYY 162 677 117 238 388 53  2 31 113 .352 .573 53 35  0  0
1987 NYY 141 569  93 186 318 38  2 30 115 .327 .559 51 38  1  4
1988 NYY 144 599  94 186 277 37  0 18  88 .311 .462 41 29  1  0
1989 NYY 158 631  79 191 301 37  2 23 113 .303 .477 51 30  3  0
1990 NYY 102 394  40 101 132 16  0  5  42 .256 .335 28 20  1  0
1991 NYY 152 587  64 169 231 35  0  9  68 .288 .394 46 42  2  0
1992 NYY 157 640  89 184 266 40  0 14  86 .287 .416 39 43  3  0
1993 NYY 134 530  78 154 236 27  2 17  86 .291 .445 61 42  0  0
1994 NYY  97 372  62 113 153 20  1  6  51 .304 .411 60 24  0  0
1995 NYY 128 458  59 132 189 32  2  7  49 .288 .413 40 35  0  2

          G   AB    R    H   TB   2B 3B  HR  RBI   BA  SLG  BB  SO SB CS
Totals: 1785 7003 1007 2153 3301 442 20 222 1099 .307 .471 588 444 14  9
Sources:
http://www.don-mattingly.com/dmstats.html
http://www.daemen.edu/pages/dcurtis/mattingly/dmpers.html
http://www.donniebaseball.com/mattingly/donnie2.html
http://www.pubdim.net/baseballlibrary/ballplayers/M/Mattingly_Don.stm

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.