‘The 40/40 Club’ – 1980’s – Card #24

‘The 40/40 Club’ – 1980’s – Card #24

Don Mattingly – 1984 Topps

Don Mattingly was and is still regarded as one of the best all-around first basemen to play the game of baseball in the last 30 years.

Mattingly’s career was cut short due to back injury, but one has to wonder ho much more a player of his talent level could have given to baseball and baseball fans. 

Don Mattingly’s debut for the New York Yankees came in 1982, and he became a regular starter by the second half of the 1983 season.  But in 1984, at the young age of just 23, ‘Mattingly-Mania’ erupted and Don Mattingly quickly became a household name.  In ’84, his first full season with the Yankees, Mattingly hit an amazing .343 while blasting 23 homers and collecting 110 RBI.  Mattingly made his first all-star appearance that year and finished in 5th place for the MVP award.  That was just the beginning…

Over the course of the next 5 seasons, ‘Donnie Baseball’ took Yankee fans for an unforgettable ride.  5 all-star game appearances.  1 MVP award.  1 2nd place finish for the MVP award.  5 Gold Gloves.  3 Silver Slugger trophies.  Don Mattingly was a baseball king while playing in the stadium that built and crushed dreams on a daily basis.  Mattingly was well on his way to becoming known as one of the best all-around players to join the Yankee family.  His amazing displays of hitting for average, hitting for power, and superior defensive ability gave Yankees fans plenty to wish for as this new leader of the team was putting the team on his back and carrying them to victory after victory.

The first 7 seasons in which ‘Donnie Baseball’ played the game may be the greatest start to a career for a plyer debuting during the 1980’s.   Even as injuries came and went, Mattingly’s numbers remained relatively consistent.  However, his power numbers quickly dropped, and RBI totals soon followed.  Defensively he was still getting the job done as he went on to win a total of 9 Gold Gloves.  Don Mattingly retired with a .307 batting average.  In his 14 years in the major leagues, he hit .300 or better 7 times.  Mattingly’s resume also includes 2,153 hits, 222 home runs, 1,007 runs scored, and 1,099 RBI.

Amazingly Don Mattingly only made it to one playoff match-up during his career.  In 1995, his Yankees lost to the Seattle Mariners in a 5-game series.  Mattingly kept the Yankees in it with his .417 batting average, 1 home run, and 6 RBI but it wasn’t enough to take the team any further.


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