I figured the first post of actual cards on my blog should be of a player who is my favorite player of my lifetime. No doubt, a player who’s talent could perhaps make him a candidate for the Hall of Fame, although in recent years this has come into question. The player I am talking about is none other than Donald Arthur Mattingly – Donnie Baseball to many of you.
The lefthanded firstbaseman wore the pinstripes for his entire career and became the Yankee captain. One of the best players to never make it to the World Series, Don Mattingly had a career batting average of .307 having his best season at the plate in 1986 batting .352.
Mattingly was a standout high school prospect that most teams passed off as a player who would attend college, but the Yankees were able to draft him in the 19th round of the 1979 amateur draft. As a highschooler, he appeared in a Sports Illustrated article in 1979 as well, an article that I wish to make part of my collection at some point, but haven’t pulled the trigger on eBay for just yet.
Don Mattingly made it to the bigs in 1983 as a backup firstbaseman and outfielder, securing his full time position at first base in 1984, a year in which he hit .343 and beat out teamate Dave Winfield for the AL batting title. That also happens to be the year he changed his uniform number to the now retired by the New York Yankees – #23. The number was retired by the Yankees in 1997.
Enough about my favorite player for now I guess, but I will certainly revisit thoughts of his career in future blog postings.
Did You Know: Don Mattingly was benched a game in 1991 by then Yankee Manager Stump Merrill for refusing to cut his hair as per team policy by none other than Mr. Steinbrenner. Mattingly sure did that mullet style cut proud!