Daily Archives: April 20, 2012

Don Mattingly, The Manager.

Don Mattingly, The Manager.

Hell, who wouldn’t want one of the game’s best hitters from the prior generation leading their team?

Don Mattingly was a batting coach for both the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers.  Today, he is leading the Dodgers as their manager.

I have to imagine that several players in both the home and visiting team locker rooms had posters of ‘Donnie Baseball’ in their room when they were growing up.  I know I did.

In 2011, his first full season as a major league manager, Mattingly led his Dodgers team to a 82-79 record.  The team missed the playoffs, but with a core of players that is infused with both youth and veteran experience, the team may thrive under the guidance of Mattingly.

Best of luck to you ‘Donnie Baseball’.  And ‘Happy Birthday’!!!!

Don Mattingly’s Highly Sought After 1984 Rookie Card

Don Mattingly’s Highly Sought After 1984 Rookie Card

In 1984, both Fleer and Donruss stole some of the show from Topps when it came to rookie cards.  They laid claim to the best Kirby Puckett and Roger Clemens rookie cards.

But neither of them could compare to the 1984 Topps Don Mattingly rookie.

And while the Donruss and Fleer cards sold for a bit more back then, it was the Topps card that was the ‘must have’.

Sadly, I didn’t have one (though I did and still own the Donruss one).

I think I have just added a new card to my ‘Needs’ list.  Time to go shopping…

Don Mattingly Has 9 Gold Glove Awards On His Mantle!!!

Don Mattingly Has 9 Gold Glove Awards On His Mantle!!!

No pun intended with the Mantle reference…  HAHA!!

But there is no denying Don Mattingly’s incredible play at first base!!

Long before playing ‘D’ was cool, Don Mattingly was heads and shoulders above all others that played the hot corner.  And proof of that fact is that he collected nine Gold Glove awards – in 9 out of 10 seasons!!

Yessir – from 1985-1994, ‘Donnie Baseball’ was the best fielding first baseman in the league for a full decade.

Yeah, but who interrupted him in 1990?  Slugger Mark McGwire won the award in 1990.  But something tells me that it had more to do with Mattingly missing 60 games that year..  Sorry ‘Big Mac’.

Don Mattingly Has 3 Silver Slugger Awards

Don Mattingly Has 3 Silver Slugger Awards

As if you needed further proof that Don Mattingly was the best hitting first baseman in the American League during the prime of his career….

Mattingly won the Silver Slugger award during three consecutive seasons, 1985-87.  In ’85, he hit .324 with 211 hits.  In ’86, he hit .352 with 238 hits.  And in 1987, he hit .327 with 186 hits.

Solid stuff right there!!

So, who ended Mattingly’s three-year reign?  In 1988 the AL Silver Slugger Award for first base went to a man by the name of George Brett.  Brett hit .306 with 180 hits in ’87 while Mattingly hit .311 with 186 hits.  Close, very close…

Don Mattingly Is A 6-Time All-Star!!

Don Mattingly Is A 6-Time All-Star!!

The first six full seasons of Don Mattingly’s major league baseball career are on part with those of many baseball legends.

In fact, in his first six full seasons, Mattingly made the All-Star team each time.  From 1983-1989, Mattingly was a fixture at the mid-summer classic.  ANd rightfully so!!

The best all-around player at first base in the American League, it can be easily argued that he was the best first baseman in either league.  And to be honest, he was probably the best first baseman of the decade!!

So there.

The Birth Of ‘Donnie Baseball’

The Birth Of ‘Donnie Baseball’

Proving himself to be one of the most well-rounded offensive young stars in the game, Don Mattingly was quickly elevated to superstardom around the baseball world.

Wearing pinstripes certainly helps, but it was Don Mattingly’s amazing talent for the sport of baseball that propelled him to heights rarely seen for a player his age.  Dominant both at the plate and in the field, Mattingly was able to take over games by collecting clutch hits, driving in game-changing runs, and playing supreme defense.

And while there may have been other players in the league that were better at one single skill, Mattingly’s ability to combine all of them into his daily play made him a baseball legend and New York icon.

And ‘Donnie Baseball’ was born!!

Don Mattingly – The 1985 American League MVP

Don Mattingly – The 1985 American League MVP

After putting together a solid campaign in 1984 which culminated with 207 hits and a matting title, Don Mattingly followed the ’84 season up by being named the Most Valuable Player in 1985.

The ’85 AL MVP was on top of the baseball world, and his stats spoke for themselves.  Tallying 211 hits, Mattingly amassed a .324 batting average while striking out just 41 times in 727 plate appearances.  Mattingly’s power numbers were solid as well – 48 doubles, 35 home runs, 145 RBI, and 107 runs scored.

Very valuable indeed!

Don Mattingly & The 1984 American League Batting Title

Don Mattingly & The 1984 American League Batting Title

It’s not too often that a young player can enter the league and make the kind of impact at the plate that Don Mattingly did.  Sure, one may come along and launch a bunch of home runs, but to lead the league in hitting at the age of just 23 and in your first full major league season is simply incredible.

And that is precisely what Don Mattingly did in 1984.  Playing in 153 games for the New York Yankees, Mattingly led the American League with a .343 batting average.  He topped teammate Dave Winfield, a 10-year veteran, by three points!

Happy Birthday Don Mattingly!!!

Happy Birthday Don Mattingly!!!

Don Mattingly turns 51 years old today.

So, we’re going to continue a ’30-YOC’ tradition by dedicating today’s full day of posts to the fabulous career of Don Mattingly, aka Donnie Baseball!!!

As time passes, my appreciation for Mattingly grows considerably.  From an offensive standpoint, there was nothing Mattingly could not do.  A blend of contact and power hitting were some of Mattingly’s greatest strengths.  And defensively at first base there was no-one better during his playing days.  9 Gold Gloves, 3 Silver Slugger Awards, and an MVP Award later and you have an extremely solid career from one of baseball’s biggest stars during the 80’s.

When you talk about the most well-rounded players from his era, Don Mattingly has to be one of the first names mentioned.  Due to his incredible talents, Mattingly was wildly popular.  During his time with the Yankees, he was the team leader and captain.  And now more than 20 years removed, he remains a favorite of collectors today.

Happy Birthday to Donnie Baseball!!

TTM Failure: Al Kaline – Take Two!!!!

TTM Failure:  Al Kaline – Take Two!!!!

I am here to report that I had another bubble mailer in my mailbox last night.  And unfortunately, the ball that was enclosed was unsigned.

😦

What is a little puzzling about this one is that I sent the ball to Mr. Kaline in Detroit, yet the return envelope was postmarked from Tampa.  Kind of odd, right??

Anyways, that officially makes strike two for me with Al Kaline; once from Spring Training and now once from his home address in Michigan.

So, now what I have to do is decide whether it is worth me getting back up to bat to take another swing at it or if I should simply head for the dugout.

Decisions, decisions…