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Don Mattingly

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Donald Arthur Mattingly
(Donnie Baseball)

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[edit] Biographical Information

1984 Donruss

Don Mattingly,now manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, is considered by many to be the greatest Yankee player to never appear in the World Series. He played his entire career with the New York Yankees, making his debut in 1982. In 1984, he led the American League with a .343 batting average, and in 1985, he was the American League Most Valuable Player. Mattingly hit over .300 each season between 1984 and 1989. He was also an excellent defensive first baseman, winning nine Gold Gloves in his career. He has been on the Hall of Fame ballot since 2001, but his support has hovered around 15% only. In 2012, it reached a peak of 17.8%, still well below the total that would make him a serious candidate for election, with his time on the ballot running out, but in 2013, it fell to 13.2% and in 2014, it fell further, to 8.2%.

Mattingly was originally signed as a 19th round pick in the 1979 amateur draft by the Yankees and scouts Jax Robertson and Gus Poulos. In 1987, Mattingly tied Dale Long's record, set in 1956, hitting a home run in eight consecutive games (Ken Griffey Jr. later also tied this mark in 1993). Mattingly was the only one of the three players with more than 8 home runs during the streak - he had 10. Mattingly also set a record of 6 grand slams in 1987 (the only 6 slams of his entire career) which was tied by Travis Hafner of the 2006 Indians.

Mattingly's career was cut short by chronic back problems, and he played his final major league game in 1995. Ironically, the Yankees reached the World Series the season before Mattingly's debut and the season after his final game. The Yankees also reached the World Series in 2003, the year before Mattingly returned as a coach. Mattingly did get a taste of post-season play in 1995 in the AL Divisional Series. He made the most of it, hitting .417 (10-for-24), with 4 doubles, a home run and 6 RBI's. After three seasons at the Yankees batting coach, he became the team's bench coach in 2007. After being passed over for the open manager's position following Joe Torre's departure, he decided not to return to the team in 2008 and joined the Los Angeles Dodgers, Torre's new team. However, he renounced the position in January, citing family issues that required him to be present at his Indiana home. Mattingly reclaimed the job from Mike Easler at the All-Star break.

Mattingly was involved in an unusual incident on July 20, 2010, in a game featuring three ejections, including that of Torre. Mattingly was acting for his boss as Dodgers manager in the 9th inning, when he called a conference on the mound after closer Jonathan Broxton had loaded the bases against the San Francisco Giants while trying to protect a 5-4 lead. After giving his instructions to his players, he began to walk off the mound when 1B James Loney asked him a question; he returned to the mound to answer him, and rival manager Bruce Bochy argued successfully that this constituted a second visit to the mound, forcing Mattingly to remove Broxton from the game, and replace him with the struggling George Sherrill, who had not warmed up. However, the umpires, led by Adrian Johnson, also erred on the play: Mattingly should have been ejected for delaying the game, and Broxton allowed to finish pitching to batter Andres Torres, during which Sherrill should have begun to warm up. Instead, Sherrill had only eight pitches to get ready, and Torres hit a bases-clearing double for a 7-5 Giants win.

Mattingly was named Torre's successor as Dodgers manager for the 2011 season, after Torre announced his retirement. He did well his first two years, leading his team to winning records both seasons, although expectations were raised significantly prior to the 2013 season when a new ownership group came into place during 2012. That group immediately displayed a willingness to spend a lot of money to put a winner on the field, acquiring pricey veterans Hanley Ramirez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez in late 2012, and then adding pitchers Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu over the off-season, pushing the payroll to a National League-record $217 million. However, in spite of the hype, the Dodgers stumbled out of the gate in 2013, and Mattingly suddenly found himself on the hot seat in May as the expected turnaround did not come. Feeling under pressure, he launched into a tirade against team management prior to a game on May 22nd, complaining that they had built an unbalanced roster that lacked grit and that made it hard for him to meet lofty expectations, a tirade that was poorly received by observers who pointed out that a number of his managerial peers were doing a lot better while having been dealt much less enviable hands. He was rescued from his tenuous position by a tremendous performance by rookie outfielder Yasiel Puig, who was called up to Los Angeles on June 3rd and took Major League Baseball by storm. Riding the rookie's red-hot bat as well of that of Hanley Ramirez and great pitching, the Dodgers began a turnaround, and soon were almost unbeatable, at one point winning 42 out of 50 games to run away with the NL West title. Mattingly's early-season woes were soon forgotten, and while the Dodgers bowed out to the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS, his position was now completely secure. On January 7, 2014 he signed a three-year extension to continue as the Dodgers' manager.

Don lives in Evansville, IN during the offseason. His brother, Randy Mattingly, was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the 4th round of the 1973 NFL draft, then played in the CFL from 1974 to 1976. Don has three sons. His oldest son Taylor Mattingly was drafted by the Yankees in the 42nd round of the 2003 amateur draft. His middle son, Preston Mattingly, was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1st round of the 2006 amateur draft.

Mattingly appeared in The Simpsons episode "Homer at the Bat". He was inducted into the Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • 6-time AL All-Star (1984-1989)
  • AL MVP (1985)
  • 9-time AL Gold Glove Winner (1985-1994)
  • 3-time AL Silver Slugger Award Winner (1985-1987)
  • AL Batting Average Leader (1984)
  • AL Slugging Percentage Leader (1986)
  • AL OPS Leader (1986)
  • 2-time AL Hits Leader (1984 & 1986)
  • 2-time AL Total Bases Leader (1985 & 1986)
  • 3-time AL Doubles Leader (1984, 1985 & 1986)
  • AL RBI Leader (1985)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 5 (1984-1987 & 1989)
  • 30-Home Run Seasons: 3 (1985, 1986 & 1987)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 5 (1984-1987 & 1989)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 2 (1985 & 1986)
  • 200 Hits Seasons: 3 (1984, 1985 & 1986)
  • Division Titles: 1 (2013)


AL MVP
1984 1985 1986
Willie Hernandez Don Mattingly Roger Clemens


Preceded by
Joe Torre
Los Angeles Dodgers Manager
2011-
Succeeded by
Present manager

[edit] Year-By-Year Managerial Record

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs
2011 Los Angeles Dodgers National League 82-79 3rd Los Angeles Dodgers
2012 Los Angeles Dodgers National League 86-76 2nd Los Angeles Dodgers
2013 Los Angeles Dodgers National League 92-70 1st Los Angeles Dodgers Lost NLCS
2014 Los Angeles Dodgers National League Los Angeles Dodgers

[edit] Records Held

  • Grand slams, season, 6, 1987 (tied)

[edit] Further Reading

  • Don Mattingly (as told to George Vass): "The Game I'll Never Forget", Baseball Digest, November 1992, pp. 61-62. [1]

[edit] Related Sites

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