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Don Mattingly

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Full Name: Donald Arthur Mattingly Primary Position: 1B
Height/Weight: 6' 0"/175 First Game: September 8, 1982
Birthdate: April 20, 1961 Final Game: October 1, 1995
Birthplace: Evansville, Indiana MLB Experience: 14 years
Bat/Throw: Left/Left


Biography

Don Mattingly (Donald Arthur Mattingly) was born on April 20, 1961 in Evansville, Indiana. He made his Major League debut on September 8, 1982 for the New York Yankees. In 1983, his rookie year, he hit .283 with 4 home runs and 32 RBI. Mattingly played for the New York Yankees for his entire 14 year career.

Most people believe that Don Mattingly's best season was 1985, when he slugged 35 home runs, hit for a .324 average and knocked in 145 runs. Mattingly was one of the nation's top prospects as a high school player at Reitz Memorial High School in 1979, even earning a brief write-up in Sports Illustrated magazine. However, most Major League Baseball teams were sure he was going to college, and didn't draft him. The Yankees took a chance, and were able to sign Mattingly after selecting him in the 19th round of the 1979 amateur draft.

The sweet-swinging lefty immediately proved it was a wise decision, terrorizing pitchers in the Yankee farm system. He batted .349 in 1979, .358 in 1980, .316 in 1981 and made it to the majors late in the 1982 season after batting .315 for Triple-A Columbus.

Mattingly spent his official rookie season of 1983 as a part-time first baseman and outfielder, waiting for a full-time spot in the lineup to open up. Mattingly wore number 46 during his rookie season. He played well, hitting .283, but with little power.

That part of his game arrived in 1984, when he became the Yankees' full time first baseman, switched his uniform number to 23, and was an MVP candidate. He hit .343 and beat out teammate Dave Winfield for the American League batting title by getting 4 hits in 5 at-bats on the last day of the season, while slugging a league-leading 44 doubles to go with 23 home runs and 110 RBI.

He followed that up with a spectacular 1985 season, winning the MVP award in the American League; he batted .324 with 35 home runs and 145 RBI, then the most RBI in a season by a major league batter since Ted Williams hit 159 in 1949. He may have been even better in 1986, when he hit .352 with a league-leading 238 hits and 53 doubles. However, he was beat out in the American League MVP voting by pitcher Roger Clemens, who also won the Cy Young Award that year. (It is somewhat controversial and rare for a pitcher to win the MVP award, with position players often winning the award even when a pitcher has a stand-out spectacular season.)

In 1987, Mattingly tied a major league record by hitting home runs in eight consecutive games. Also in 1987, he set a major league record by hitting six grand slam home runs in a season. (Curiously, the six grand slams in 1987 were the only grand slams he hit in his entire career.)

Mattingly remained among the game's best first basemen throughout the 1980s, winning the Gold Glove Award for his fielding and a spot on the American League All-Star team each year in the mid to late 1980s. As late as 1989, he seemed to be on pace to shatter several career hitting records.

It all came crashing down in 1990, when Mattingly began to suffer from severe back problems. He tried to play through it, but struggled with the bat and had to go on the disabled list in July. He came back late in the season but was still ineffective. He underwent extensive therapy in the off-season and made it into the lineup in 1991. He was still an above-average hitter, but the injuries had robbed him of much of his power. He played five more seasons, but never again batted higher than .304 (and that was in the strike-shortened 1994 season) or hit more than 17 home runs.

In 1995 Mattingly finally reached the postseason with the Yankees. He proved he was a big time player by providing dramatic hits during the divisional playoffs against the Seattle Mariners and batting .417 in five games; however, the Yankees lost the series in five games after being up two games to none.

Mattingly did not play after that season and finished his careerwith 2,153 hits, 222 home runs, 1,099 RBI and a .307 lifetime average, but never winning or playing in a World Series. Most baseball fans and experts agree that he is the best Yankee player to have never played in a World Series with the team. While he did not play in 1996, (a year in which the Yanks ended a 14 year pennant and World Series drought---ironically the entire length of Mattingly's career)he did not officially hand in his retirement papers until 1997. The Yankees retired his number 23 and dedicated his plaque for Monument Park at Yankee Stadium on August 31, 1997. The plaque calls him "A humble man of grace and dignity, a captain who led by example, proud of the Pinstripe tradition and dedicated to the pursuit of excellence, a Yankee forever."

Mattingly is a candidate for election into the Baseball Hall of Fame. However, observers note that his chances are severely hurt by his relatively short career and the fact that his strong seasons were limited to a six year period between 1984 and 1989. Mattingly has never been named on more than 28% of ballots cast for the hall of fame, and most recently in 2006 he was only named on 12% of the ballots. (For election, a player must be mentioned on 75% of the ballots.)

After the 2003 season, he was hired by the Yankees to be their new hitting coach and beginning in 2007 he moved into the role of bench coach.

Don Mattingly married Kim Sexton on September 8, 1979. They have 3 sons: Taylor, Preston, and Jordan.

During the late 1980s and early 90s, Don Mattingly was owner of a restaurant in Evansville called "Mattingly's."

Statistics

Batting Stats

Year Team G AB R H HR RBI AVG OBP SLG 2B 3B BB SO HBP SH SB IBB GDP
1982 NY A 7 12 0 2 0 1 .167 .154 .167 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 2
1983 NY A 91 279 34 79 4 32 .283 .333 .409 15 4 21 31 1 2 0 5 8
1984 NY A 153 603 91 207 23 110 .343 .381 .537 44 2 41 33 1 8 1 8 15
1985 NY A 159 652 107 211 35 145 .324 .371 .567 48 3 56 41 2 2 2 13 15
1986 NY A 162 677 117 238 31 113 .352 .394 .573 53 2 53 35 1 1 0 11 17
1987 NY A 141 569 93 186 30 115 .327 .378 .559 38 2 51 38 1 0 1 13 16
1988 NY A 144 599 94 186 18 88 .311 .353 .462 37 0 41 29 3 0 1 14 13
1989 NY A 158 631 79 191 23 113 .303 .351 .477 37 2 51 30 1 0 3 18 15
1990 NY A 102 394 40 101 5 42 .256 .308 .335 16 0 28 20 3 0 1 13 13
1991 NY A 152 587 64 169 9 68 .288 .339 .394 35 0 46 42 4 0 2 11 21
1992 NY A 157 640 89 184 14 86 .287 .327 .416 40 0 39 43 1 0 3 7 11
1993 NY A 134 530 78 154 17 86 .291 .364 .445 27 2 61 42 2 0 0 9 20
1994 NY A 97 372 62 113 6 51 .304 .397 .411 20 1 60 24 0 0 0 7 8
1995 NY A 128 458 59 132 7 49 .288 .341 .413 32 2 40 35 1 0 0 7 17
Total 1785 7003 1007 2153 222 1099 .307 .358 .471 442 20 588 444 21 13 14 136 191

Fielding Stats

Year Team POS G GS INN PO A ERR DP TP PB SB CS PkO AVG
1982 NY A 1B 1 0 3 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
1982 NY A OF 6 1 24.1 11 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
1982 NY A RF 1 0 1.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
1982 NY A LF 5 1 23 11 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
1983 NY A 1B 42 28 290.2 278 12 1 30 0 0 0 0 0 .997
1983 NY A 2B 1 0 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
1983 NY A RF 39 28 270.1 56 3 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 .967
1983 NY A OF 48 37 354.1 72 3 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 .974
1983 NY A LF 14 9 84 16 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
1984 NY A OF 19 16 147.1 36 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 .974
1984 NY A CF 1 1 8 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
1984 NY A LF 13 9 88.1 17 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 .950
1984 NY A 1B 133 131 1189 1107 124 5 135 0 0 0 0 0 .996
1984 NY A RF 6 6 51 17 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
1985 NY A 1B 159 159 1421.1 1318 87 7 154 0 0 0 0 0 .995
1986 NY A 3B 3 2 18 1 11 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 .923
1986 NY A DH 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
1986 NY A 1B 160 159 1411.1 1377 100 6 132 0 0 0 0 0 .996
1987 NY A DH 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
1987 NY A 1B 140 139 1226.2 1239 91 5 122 0 0 0 0 0 .996
1988 NY A DH 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
1988 NY A 1B 143 141 1272.1 1250 99 9 131 0 0 0 0 0 .993
1988 NY A OF 1 1 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
1988 NY A LF 1 1 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
1989 NY A DH 16 16 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
1989 NY A OF 1 1 8 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
1989 NY A 1B 146 141 1231.2 1274 87 7 143 0 0 0 0 0 .995
1989 NY A RF 1 1 8 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
1990 NY A 1B 89 89 778.1 800 78 3 81 0 0 0 0 0 .997
1990 NY A LF 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
1990 NY A DH 13 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
1990 NY A OF 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
1991 NY A 1B 127 124 1090.2 1119 77 5 135 0 0 0 0 0 .996
1991 NY A DH 22 22 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
1992 NY A 1B 143 138 1224 1209 116 4 129 0 0 0 0 0 .997
1992 NY A DH 15 15 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
1993 NY A DH 5 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
1993 NY A 1B 130 126 1118.1 1258 84 3 123 0 0 0 0 0 .998
1994 NY A 1B 97 93 836.2 919 68 2 95 0 0 0 0 0 .998
1995 NY A DH 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
1995 NY A 1B 125 117 1038 996 81 7 90 0 0 0 0 0 .994
Total 2B 1 0 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Total DH 75 70 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Total RF 47 35 330.2 75 3 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 .975
Total 3B 3 2 18 1 11 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 .923
Total LF 34 20 201.1 44 3 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 .979
Total 1B 1635 1585 14132 14148 1104 64 1500 0 0 0 0 0 .996
Total CF 1 1 8 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
Total OF 76 56 540 121 6 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 .977

Transactions

  • Selected by New York Yankees in the 19th round of the free-agent draft (June 5, 1979).
  • Granted free agency (November 11, 1995).

Trivia

See also

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