The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News


Pinch hitting: Dan Hanzus

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Jan 22, 2010 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Next up in the Pinch Hitters series is Dan Hanzus, who wrote about the legacy of Don Mattingly.

Dan lives in Hollywood now, but he’s been a Yankees fan ever since 1987 when he went to Yankee Stadium for the first time and saw Mattingly go deep. He is the auther of the River & Sunset blog, and when it came to writing about a Yankees icon, it was difficult to hold back.

“I crept a bit over the word limit,” he wrote. “Trying to get a Mattingly Disciple to self-edit is an arduous process.”

———

When the Yankees begin defense of their 27th championship on April 4, it will mark the 15th season since Don Mattingly last played professional baseball.

This statement is not meant to make you feel sad and old, though I suspect that outcome is possible. Take solace in the fact that Father Time manhandles us all … unless you’re Derek Jeter, in which case you destroy Father Time, then go to Chili’s with Minka Kelly.

I bring up Mattingly because 15 years seems like an appropriate amount of time to re-examine his legacy, a legacy that seems to be shifting as we creep further from that Game 5 in the Kingdome. It’s probably unnecessary to explain on a Yankees blog what made Mattingly so great, because those that saw him know how special he was. In his truncated prime, Mattingly was the best hitter (and fielder) in baseball, once driving in 145 runs when that didn’t automatically mean you were sharing a bathroom stall with Jose Canseco.

How he played, and how he carried himself as he did it, made Mattingly an idol to countless kids like me. Mattingly was unquestionably the most popular Yankee of his era, New York’s answer to Larry Bird in Boston, only with a better mustache. The link of Yankee Mystique™ was as follows: Your grandfather had Joltin’ Joe, your dad had The Mick, and you had Donnie Baseball.

A treasonous back robbed Mattingly of what was a certain Hall of Fame career, but a decline in production never changed how people felt about him. He retired as a Yankee legend, a player with no rings but a lifetime of goodwill.

Of course, the only thing worse than Mattingly’s back was his timing. The year after the Hitman went home to Evansville, the Yankees won the World Series. Even Mattingly himself would later admit that this “kinda sucked.” He wasn’t wrong.

The Yankees’ transformation in the Jeter Era brought with it a change in culture, as the Steinbrenner Doctrine — anything short of a championship is considered failure — took hold.

Retroactively, this mission statement casts Mattingly’s career in an unflattering light.

Success can spoil any fanbase. Look at New England Patriots supporters, who booed Tom Brady in the first quarter of a wild-card game. Yankee Universe is hardly immune to this phenomenon; when the Bombers failed to qualify for the postseason in 2008, there was panic on River Avenue. Give fans a taste of success and we want another. Give us more, and we want it all.

With a Cooperstown call doubtful and no World Series glory to re-run endlessly on YES, time and perception threatens to box Mattingly in as little more than the best player in an era of average Yankee teams. But boiling down his iconography to that basic level would be unfair to both Mattingly and those who revered him.

He was an idol who understood what it meant to be one. In a time when clowns like Clemens, McGwire, and, yes, A-Rod make it seem like hero worship of an athlete is a lost cause, Mattingly remains a symbol of why that will never be true.

Comments

comments

 

Advertisement

132 Responses to “Pinch hitting: Dan Hanzus”

  1. Mark in Tampa January 22nd, 2010 at 9:40 am

    Well written piece about a great Yankee, but one correction: There was never a change in culture. The Yankees under George were ALWAYS considered a failure by him if they didn’t win the WS. That is why there was a new manager virtually every year, even while those 80′s Mattingly Yankees won more games than any other team in the 80′s.

  2. Frank January 22nd, 2010 at 9:43 am

    Nice tribute, Dan. The fates were not kind to Donnie Baseball, but his was nonetheless a great career. The timing of things did indeed “kinda suck”, but the fact that he played in a rather forgetable decade plus in Yankees history, yet remains so fondly remembered speaks volumes about the man.

  3. Frank January 22nd, 2010 at 9:46 am

    “That is why there was a new manager virtually every year”

    I believe the Yankees employed 11 managers from the start of the 1980 season thru the end of the 1989 season.

  4. Greg January 22nd, 2010 at 9:48 am

    “The fans want a dinger out of him…This one by Mattingly, OH HANG ON TO THE ROOF…GOODBYE, HOME RUN! DON MATTINGLY!!!”

    …chills…..

  5. ditmars1929 January 22nd, 2010 at 9:49 am

    Class act all the way. Too bad that’s becoming so rare these days. Thanks for a nice post, Dan.

  6. LB January 22nd, 2010 at 9:51 am

    I still vividly remember going to Spring Training in Ft. Lauderdale in 1984. The only Yankee signing autographs was #46, who the program listed as a right fielder. Turns out it was actually the soon-to-be Rookie of the Year and subsequently my favorite player of all time, Donald Mattingly. I still have that autographed roster framed and hanging on my wall. I totally understand the hero-worshipping of DM.

  7. Dan January 22nd, 2010 at 9:51 am

    Mark In Tampa: Yes, the hunger for success always drove Steinbrenner mad, and the managerial unrest in that period was an extension of that. But my post is more about how Mattingly himself was perceived when he retired, and how he may be perceived now, five franchise rings later.

  8. Tom in NJ January 22nd, 2010 at 9:54 am

    http://mlb.mlb.com/media/video.....5122685722

  9. Wait till we do it all over Again January 22nd, 2010 at 9:57 am

    I have a beautiful lithograph drawing of Mattingly autographed and framed. One of my favorite autographs.

  10. Erin January 22nd, 2010 at 9:57 am

    Very nice analysis Dan :)

    It’s too bad Mattingly never won a championship with the Yankees. The timing did indeed “suck”

  11. Mark in Tampa January 22nd, 2010 at 10:00 am

    Dan,

    You are right, and when you look at it, Mattingly is the only Yankee in history to be considered a great Yankee but doens’t have a ring. Even with the subsequent 5 rings, I think Mattingly’s place is secure in the hearts of fans.

    Most of this, I think, is due to the fact that fans perceived that it was somebody else’s fault that the Yanks didn’t win. It was pitching most years, George’s meddling in others, Billy’s head games, and clubhouse dis-unity. Winfield became the whipping boy for the fans, the Arod of the ’80s. Mattingly was always seen as the guy who did everything for the Yankees to win, they lost because of others. Rightly or wrongly, I believe that is the enduring perception of those teams.

  12. Dan January 22nd, 2010 at 10:04 am

    You nailed it, Mark. I totally agree.

  13. Frank January 22nd, 2010 at 10:05 am

    Dan:

    I think the perception of anyone who was around to see Mattingly play will not suffer at all. What I do wonder about how his career will be perceived two or three decades from now and among those born in 1990 and beyond.

  14. The Dude January 22nd, 2010 at 10:06 am

    Mattingly was the best hitter in baseball from 1984-1989. Health was one of his problems, timing was another. The main reason the 80′s teams didn’t win was pitching. The managerial changes didn’t help matters. But it was after Guidry wore down that the Yankees stopped winning. We didn’t have another “Ace” until we signed Jimmy Key, and he was more like a two or three starter. But our pitching was terrible in the late 80′s.

  15. tbone1570 January 22nd, 2010 at 10:07 am

    LB,
    Donnie Baseball’s rookie year was ’83, and he didn’t win ROY(Ron Kittle did).

  16. mr. krabs January 22nd, 2010 at 10:10 am

    grandfather had joltin joe
    father had the mick
    I had donnie baseball
    my son has Jeter

  17. ditmars1929 January 22nd, 2010 at 10:16 am

    “grandfather had joltin joe
    father had the mick
    I had donnie baseball
    my son has Jeter”
    ________________________________

    Very good. But couldn’t someone born in the ’60s and became a huge fan in the ’70s say that they had Munson?

  18. Erin January 22nd, 2010 at 10:20 am

    mr. krabs
    January 22nd, 2010 at 10:10 am
    grandfather had joltin joe
    father had the mick
    I had donnie baseball
    my son has Jeter

    ***********************
    I think I might be the youngest one on here this morning-I also grew up during the Jeter era. Sorry, don’t mean to make anybody feel old ;)

  19. GreenBeret7 January 22nd, 2010 at 10:20 am

    Erin
    January 22nd, 2010 at 9:57 am
    Very nice analysis Dan

    It’s too bad Mattingly never won a championship with the Yankees. The timing did indeed “suck”

    ————————————————————

    Ever wonder what happened to the little kid that Mattingly stole a handful of popcorn from after he caught a foul ball?

  20. Erin January 22nd, 2010 at 10:21 am

    GreenBeret7
    January 22nd, 2010 at 10:20 am
    Erin
    January 22nd, 2010 at 9:57 am
    Very nice analysis Dan

    It’s too bad Mattingly never won a championship with the Yankees. The timing did indeed “suck”

    ————————————————————

    Ever wonder what happened to the little kid that Mattingly stole a handful of popcorn from after he caught a foul ball?

    *********************
    What??!! That’s hilarious-I’ve never heard that story!

  21. Mark in Tampa January 22nd, 2010 at 10:26 am

    “Ever wonder what happened to the little kid that Mattingly stole a handful of popcorn from after he caught a foul ball?”

    Wait a minute, I know this one!

    I think he is related to a green-hatted Lohud blog commenter who makes numerous typos in every post! :)

  22. pat January 22nd, 2010 at 10:26 am

    We had season tickets for a good portion of Mattingly’s time in NY and he was a bright spot.

    He has a “James Dean” kind of quality to me. Gone too soon so people will always speculate what could have been rather than see it play out for better or for worse.

  23. Erica - always OPPC - Bring Back Johnny!!!! January 22nd, 2010 at 10:27 am

    I have the greatest Don Mattingly story ever-

    As a child born in 1980, Don Mattingly was basically an icon to me as a young kid. In 1995 when he was pondering retirement, I was able to attend his last regular season home game. My dad suggested to me that I make a sign and I thought it was a great idea. I turned on our old computer and typed out giant letters that said “DON’T GO DON” and taped each one to a giant poster board. The only problem with my plan was that I was really low on tape, so I had to be kind of stingy. It was a really windy day at the stadium, but I proudly held up my sign each time Don Mattingly came to bat. It was about midway through the game when I noticed the strange looks I was getting from the people around me. When I looked at my sign, I discovered that the “T” blew away and my sign said “DON GO DON”.

    I never made a sign again

  24. Wait till we do it all over Again January 22nd, 2010 at 10:29 am

    Erica, I hate to say it, and it may be a bit mean, but I think the appropriate word to use ofr that incident would be FAIL…

  25. John in Ohio January 22nd, 2010 at 10:30 am

    I had The Mick for a little while, but had Horace Clarke, Jerry Kenney, and Jake Gibbs longer.

    *shudder*

  26. GreenBeret7 January 22nd, 2010 at 10:30 am

    Mark in Tampa
    January 22nd, 2010 at 10:26 am
    “Ever wonder what happened to the little kid that Mattingly stole a handful of popcorn from after he caught a foul ball?”

    Wait a minute, I know this one!

    I think he is related to a green-hatted Lohud blog commenter who makes numerous typos in every post!

    ————————————————————

    I would have had the bum arrested for grand theft.

    It happened in the early 90′s. The shocked look on this kid’s face was priceless. He must have bee 7-9 years old. I thought it might be on youtube, but, I didn’t find it. It’s on the web somewhere.

  27. Erica - always OPPC - Bring Back Johnny!!!! January 22nd, 2010 at 10:35 am

    Wait till we do it all over Again
    January 22nd, 2010 at 10:29 am
    Erica, I hate to say it, and it may be a bit mean, but I think the appropriate word to use ofr that incident would be FAIL…

    *************

    I am not offended. I agree its most appropriate

  28. Erin January 22nd, 2010 at 10:35 am

    GreenBeret7
    January 22nd, 2010 at 10:30 am
    Mark in Tampa
    January 22nd, 2010 at 10:26 am
    “Ever wonder what happened to the little kid that Mattingly stole a handful of popcorn from after he caught a foul ball?”

    Wait a minute, I know this one!

    I think he is related to a green-hatted Lohud blog commenter who makes numerous typos in every post!

    ————————————————————

    I would have had the bum arrested for grand theft.

    It happened in the early 90’s. The shocked look on this kid’s face was priceless. He must have bee 7-9 years old. I thought it might be on youtube, but, I didn’t find it. It’s on the web somewhere.

    **********************
    That’s hilarious. I feel I kind if missed out on the Mattingly era even though I’m an ’80s baby. I was born into a family of Yankee fans, but didn’t start to appreciate baseball until the ’96 season. Lucky break, huh?

  29. GreenBeret7 January 22nd, 2010 at 10:37 am

    Erin
    January 22nd, 2010 at 10:21 am

    Ever wonder what happened to the little kid that Mattingly stole a handful of popcorn from after he caught a foul ball?

    *********************
    What??!! That’s hilarious-I’ve never heard that story!

    ————————————————————

    Erin, it was classic. The batter hits a foul ball over just beyond the first base dugout at YS. Mattingly goes over, catches the ball by a little kid and his father. The kid has a bag of popcorn bigger than he was. As Mattingly starts back to first, he grabs a handful uf the kid’s popcorn. His eyes opened about as wide as a double car garage door. Funny stuff and everytime they showed the kid during the game, his eyes followed Mattingly.

  30. Erin January 22nd, 2010 at 10:39 am

    GreenBeret7
    January 22nd, 2010 at 10:37 am

    Erin, it was classic. The batter hits a foul ball over just beyond the first base dugout at YS. Mattingly goes over, catches the ball by a little kid and his father. The kid has a bag of popcorn bigger than he was. As Mattingly starts back to first, he grabs a handful uf the kid’s popcorn. His eyes opened about as wide as a double car garage door. Funny stuff and everytime they showed the kid during the game, his eyes followed Mattingly.

    ***************
    LMAO. I would love to see a clip of that.

  31. David Astoria January 22nd, 2010 at 10:41 am

    Donnie is for sure underrated. Once he retired we knew a legend was gone. I will never forget the Converse “Hitman” Ad he did. It was probably my favorite poster I had up on my wall.

  32. GreenBeret7 January 22nd, 2010 at 10:44 am

    Erin
    January 22nd, 2010 at 10:39 am

    ***************
    LMAO. I would love to see a clip of that.

    ————————————————————

    I think that it was so unlike Mattingly, who never called attention to himself and never showed much outward emotion, and, it was just spontaneous. That’s what made it so classic.

  33. JohnC January 22nd, 2010 at 10:48 am

    Tom in NJ
    January 22nd, 2010 at 9:54 am
    http://mlb.mlb.com/media/video…..5122685722

    Thats one game I wish they would show on Yankees Classics. Do you happen to have the video clip of Sierra’s home run that preceded Mattingly’s in that game?

  34. drew January 22nd, 2010 at 10:51 am

    “Sucked” for Moose too. Obviously he is not on the same level of endearment as Donnie Baseball, but I always liked him even during his standoffish times.

  35. Tom in NJ January 22nd, 2010 at 10:53 am

    I remember being at a game in late ’95 when the Yanks were making their playoff push.

    Mattingly drove in the go ahead run with 2 outs and was stranded on third when the inning ended. In between as he was standing alone taking off his batting gloves us fans gave him a standing O. The thing is the rest of the team didn’t come out right away. It was just Donnie standing alone on the diamond. When he realized what was going on he seemed embarrassed.

  36. Erin January 22nd, 2010 at 10:55 am

    drew
    January 22nd, 2010 at 10:51 am
    “Sucked” for Moose too. Obviously he is not on the same level of endearment as Donnie Baseball, but I always liked him even during his standoffish times.

    **********************
    Absolutely. Moose had horrible timing.

  37. austinmac January 22nd, 2010 at 10:56 am

    Erica–I heard that Mattingly had decided not to retire until he saw a sign telling him to go. He felt he had overstayed his welcome as a result of the sign and retired. He also intimated that is why he is now with the Dodgers too. But, don’t feel guilty.

  38. Rich on the 6 train January 22nd, 2010 at 10:59 am

    Appreciate your tribute.
    I am a huge Donnie fan as well.
    It would have been nice if he would have at least been a coach during the “core four” era. Now it seems he is destined to be Torre’s lackey in land of dodger blues.

  39. Bodhisattva - Destiny Wears Pinstripes January 22nd, 2010 at 11:01 am

    The Dude
    January 22nd, 2010 at 10:06 am
    Mattingly was the best hitter in baseball from 1984-1989. Health was one of his problems, timing was another. The main reason the 80’s teams didn’t win was pitching. The managerial changes didn’t help matters. But it was after Guidry wore down that the Yankees stopped winning. We didn’t have another “Ace” until we signed Jimmy Key, and he was more like a two or three starter. But our pitching was terrible in the late 80’s.
    =====

    We didn’t have another ace because of the remarkably stupid decision to stick Righetti in the bullpen.

    One of the dumbest moves ever made.

  40. Patrick January 22nd, 2010 at 11:01 am

    Don Mattingly was my first “favorite player”. I was introduced to baseball when Donnie was at his peak and watching him is my first memory of professional baseball.

    Since I’m from the NJ area most of my friends are the same as me – big yankee fans and big Donnie Baseball fans. In fact, one of the kids I grew up with loved Mattingly so much he forced himself to throw and hit lefty when he was clearly a natural righty. And of course he insisted on playing 1B and wearing 23. The kid was horrible for years but by the time he got to high school he was actually somewhat decent.

  41. Erica - always OPPC - Bring Back Johnny!!!! January 22nd, 2010 at 11:06 am

    austinmac
    January 22nd, 2010 at 10:56 am
    Erica–I heard that Mattingly had decided not to retire until he saw a sign telling him to go. He felt he had overstayed his welcome as a result of the sign and retired. He also intimated that is why he is now with the Dodgers too. But, don’t feel guilty.

    ********************

    ACK!!! Oh no… its all my fault

  42. Erica - always OPPC - Bring Back Johnny!!!! January 22nd, 2010 at 11:08 am

    Speaking of Mattingly-

    I read last year that his marital problems and alcoholic wife may have lead to his retirement more than he initially let on. Yes, he had a bad back but from what I read- the back may have just been part of the excuse

  43. Tom in NJ January 22nd, 2010 at 11:10 am

    “Mets To Acquire Gary Matthews Jr.”

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/.....ws-jr.html

  44. Wait till we do it all over Again January 22nd, 2010 at 11:10 am

    BTW…Good article, but hero worship of atheltes SHOULD be a lost cause. Athletes are not heros or role models, nor are they supposed to be. They’re baseball players.

    Pick a parent, a fireman, an ambulance driver, or a mentor as a hero. Picking athletes is unhealthy.

  45. vin January 22nd, 2010 at 11:15 am

    “I never made a sign again”

    Awesome story Erica. So we can blame you for Donnie’s retirement.

  46. Tom in NJ January 22nd, 2010 at 11:15 am

    “BTW…Good article, but hero worship of atheltes SHOULD be a lost cause. Athletes are not heros or role models, nor are they supposed to be. They’re baseball players.

    Pick a parent, a fireman, an ambulance driver, or a mentor as a hero. Picking athletes is unhealthy.”

    http://www.searchviews.com/wp-....._know2.jpg

  47. Dan January 22nd, 2010 at 11:16 am

    WTWDIAOA: Isn’t hero worship part of sports for a young fan? Whether it’s “healthy” or not is meaningless because an impressionable child cannot help but latch onto a player they admire.

    What makes it tricky is that some athletes are exposed as cheaters or bad people as time goes on. That’s where luck comes in, and being a Mattingly fan was like hitting the Idol Lottery.

  48. Wes January 22nd, 2010 at 11:17 am

    Born in 1980 growing up as a Yanks fan, Mattingly was my favorite. As a kid, I would imitate his batting stance and wish I was left handed. I remember my parents letting me stay up late to see him tie the record for most consecutive games with a HR. I had no doubt he would do it… pretty sure he hit one out in his 2nd at bat.

    After my family moved to California in 1992, we saw Donnie collect his 2,000th hit against the Angels, and he got a really nice ovation from the crowd in Anaheim.

    I hated that his bad back forced him into early retirement. And as much as I cherish the 1996 season, its tinged with a little bit of sadness that the Captain wasn’t there to enjoy it.

    I think that Yankee fans of my generation will always have a soft spot for #23.

  49. Wait till we do it all over Again January 22nd, 2010 at 11:18 am

    When I was a child, my parents made it very clear to me that the athletes were athletes-we watch them because they’re good at the game. In this way I’ve always been somewhat indifferent to the personal transgressions and scandals of athletes. They’re human and make mistakes. I don’t care about anything but their baseball life excpt in passing interest, not as hero worship.

  50. rodg12 January 22nd, 2010 at 11:26 am

    Got a few great Mattingly stories…

    First, I was in Detroit in 1992 with my dad and uncle. We went down to the dugout to get autographs as soon as the gates opened like we always do. After Donnie got done hitting, I started calling his name to come over and sign (as did everyone around me). Happily, he obliged. However, as he came over to sign a huge swath of people from behind me started pushing forward. My dad did everything he could to hold people back and keep me from getting crushed against the railing. Don told everyone to calm down and back up. He signed my ball then made sure I was alright. :) He didn’t sign anymore because of the craziness.

    Second story, I was down in KC in 1995. ESPN was doing a piece on Don talking about how his career was winding down and going over his career. Don came over to sign autographs for us fans that were behind the camera well that the Royals used to have on the homeplate side of the visitor’s dugout. I made sportscenter that night getting his autograph. :)

    Third story, this one I don’t fully remember because I was so young. Late 80s, we were up in Minneapolis and had great seats behind homeplate on the Yankees side. Each time Don came out on the on-deck circle, I’d go down to catch a closer look at him. Even chatted with him for a bit one time before an AB.

  51. IDCWYT January 22nd, 2010 at 11:29 am

    This brings back memories. My first baseball memory was a trip to Yankee stadium, i think 1986. We had missed the top of the first and when we walked out of the tunnel, the first thing i saw was a 3 run homerun hit by Don Mattingly. I have been a Yankees fan ever since.

  52. rodg12 January 22nd, 2010 at 11:29 am

    GB -
    That clip of Don taking the popcorn from the kid is an absolute classic! Is it true you’re related to the kid?

  53. Frank January 22nd, 2010 at 11:30 am

    Wonder whether Matthews to Mets opens up anything for Damon. Unless the Halos are prepared to go with Kendrick or Aybar atop their order, that is a team in need of a leadoff hitter. Still some issue of space as Hunter, Abreu, Rivera and Matsui are there already, but Rivera has been mentioned as “available” on more than one occasion.

  54. IDCWYT January 22nd, 2010 at 11:31 am

    The Yankees also beat the Twins 13-4 that day.

  55. Erin January 22nd, 2010 at 11:32 am

    rodg12-great stories. I loved the first one where he made sure you were OK!

  56. Rishi January 22nd, 2010 at 11:35 am

    The conclusion

    It’s practically impossible to build a ballpark that’s neutral in every regard. Take some home runs away and you’re going to add some singles. Take some doubles away and you might add some home runs. What most teams prefer is a ballpark that’s roughly neutral, overall (or slightly favors the pitchers). And that seems to be what the Yankees have, based on what we’ve seen in 81 games.

    Two caveats.

    One, as good as the Yankees were, they often didn’t get their ups in the ninth inning at home, which obviously depressed their home production by a few percent.

    And two, we’re talking about just one season. Ballparks go up and down, mostly because of random fluctuation but also because of snow and rain and heat and gloom of night. Typically, we prefer to look at two or three years before drawing any real conclusions about a ballpark. Still, given the dimensions of the new Yankee Stadium, we can probably assume that it will continue to be friendly to power hitters, and especially power hitters who can routinely hit the ball to right field.

    Whether all those home runs will be balanced by so many fewer doubles and triples, we can’t yet say. What we can say is that in 2009, Yankee Stadium did not play as a big hitters’ park.
    ================================

    http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb.....id=4845834

    Crazy at work and haven’t had a chance to read in a while, but wanted to make sure you all saw this NYS 2009 season analysis

  57. GreenBeret7 January 22nd, 2010 at 11:35 am

    rodg12
    January 22nd, 2010 at 11:29 am
    GB -
    That clip of Don taking the popcorn from the kid is an absolute classic! Is it true you’re related to the kid?

    ————————————————————

    No, we’re not related, but, my dog and the kid’s dog had puppies together. Does that make us in-laws? That clip was shown for a few years and then sort of disappeared.

  58. rodg12 January 22nd, 2010 at 11:38 am

    Erin -
    One of the best things about Donnie Ballgame was that he’d almost always sign autographs on the road. Only guy on the current team that signs as much him is Rivera. Jeter used to sign a ton when he was younger, not as much now (same thing happened to Bernie).

  59. Patrick January 22nd, 2010 at 11:38 am

    Why shouldn’t kids look up to people like Don Mattingly? He’s a great ballplayer and a nice guy. He’s had a lot of success in his life while maintaining a quality personality. That’s something we should all strive for and look up to.

  60. Wait till we do it all over Again January 22nd, 2010 at 11:40 am

    Why SHOULD we look up to Mattingly? Sure he seems like a fairly nice guy but he earns millions of dollars playing baseball, somerthing very, vry few kids end up doing. Not really a realistic role model.

  61. rodg12 January 22nd, 2010 at 11:41 am

    GB -
    Yeah, I think that kinda makes you in-laws. I still see that clip every once in awhile. Not as much now that Don’s no longer with the Yanks, though. Makes me smile every time. :)

  62. Erin January 22nd, 2010 at 11:41 am

    rodg12
    January 22nd, 2010 at 11:38 am
    Erin -
    One of the best things about Donnie Ballgame was that he’d almost always sign autographs on the road. Only guy on the current team that signs as much him is Rivera. Jeter used to sign a ton when he was younger, not as much now (same thing happened to Bernie).

    ******************
    I’ve always kicked myself that I didn’t get interested in baseball until I was 12, one year after Mattingly retired. I always knew who he was, growing up in a Yankee house, but sadly just missed watching him play. :(

  63. GreenBeret7 January 22nd, 2010 at 11:42 am

    I think that “Dan” and “Wait till we do it all over Again” need to get rid of their holier-than-thou attitudes about other players. Both of you act like you’ve never done anything wrong, that you’ve never done anything that you’re ashamed of.

  64. GreenBeret7 January 22nd, 2010 at 11:44 am

    rodg, if you ever run across that video, please throw it on this board, please.

  65. Wait till we do it all over Again January 22nd, 2010 at 11:44 am

    Anyway, if you were a fan of Don Mattingly you were lucky. That was rare.

    I’m just saying, don’t lookup to athletes. Tons of people loved Mark Mcgwire and ere crushed when Canseco said he did ‘roids. Well, they wouldn’t have been crushed if they had, instead of looking up to him as a role model, enjoyed him as a ballplayer. Would it have been disappointing? Sure, but not crushing.

  66. Patrick January 22nd, 2010 at 11:44 am

    “Why SHOULD we look up to Mattingly?”

    Because he’s one of the top performers at his chosen profession while maintaining a classy personality.

    Personally, I’d want my kids to strive to be the best at their chosen career and I’d want them to be good people – exactly like Mattingly.

  67. Wait till we do it all over Again January 22nd, 2010 at 11:46 am

    GB7-What in the world are you talking about? I’m saying the opposite. Everybody has things they’re ashamed of. I don’t think athletes make the best role models is all I’m saying. I never said look up to ME.

  68. Erin January 22nd, 2010 at 11:46 am

    Patrick
    January 22nd, 2010 at 11:44 am
    “Why SHOULD we look up to Mattingly?”

    Because he’s one of the top performers at his chosen profession while maintaining a classy personality.

    Personally, I’d want my kids to strive to be the best at their chosen career and I’d want them to be good people – exactly like Mattingly.

    *******************
    Patrick, very well said. I completely agree :)

  69. Bronx Jeers January 22nd, 2010 at 11:46 am

    Back in the day it was possible to get autographs from the players as they left the Stadium to walk to the players parking lot. There were cops and barricades but it wasn’t the fortress that it was in later years.

    I remember once asking a cop if he thought Dave Winfield would sign for me if I jumped in front of his car and the cop deadpanned “He’ll sign your bodycast!”

    Anyway I couldn’t get Donnie to sign on his way to the parking lot but that didn’t stop me from chasing his car down 157th st as he made his way to the Deegan. Luckily he caught the light and and I caught him and tapped on his his window. He rolled down his window and obliged me much to my delight.

    That was probably 25 years ago and I remember it like it was yesterday.

    He was driving a red Honda Prelude.

  70. Patrick January 22nd, 2010 at 11:46 am

    Wait till we do it all over Again,

    Everyone makes mistakes, not just athletes. If you are saying not to look up to athletes because they screw up you are essentially saying to not look up to anyone.

    I’m sorry but I think that’s absurd.

  71. Wait till we do it all over Again January 22nd, 2010 at 11:47 am

    I advocate treating the athletes like athletes and not treating them like heroes. This has nothing-absolutely nothing-to do with judging them. On the contrary, I’m saying that the standard we hold them to is too high. They’re human beings, just like us.

  72. Dan January 22nd, 2010 at 11:47 am

    My Mattingly story:

    It was late in the ’93 season and my uncle took my cousins and I to the Stadium. Afterward, we waited outside the player’s exit (one of the biggest negatives of the new stadium is that this area doesn’t exist any more for fans) and we watched Mattingly leave with his then-wife, Kim.

    We went to the nearby lot and got into my uncle’s car. While exiting at the traffic light nearest to the player’s lot, who is next to us but Donnie Freaking Baseball. Me, my cousin and a few other fans jumped out and Mattingly rolls down the window and starts signing autographs.

    The whole time Kim is saying, “C’mon on Donnie, let’s go” – foreshadowing, if you ask me – but Don said, “No it’s fine” before telling us “I gotta go when the light turns green though guys.”

    I wasn’t able to get his autograph in the 60 seconds or so of madness, but that’s probably because I was frozen in awe of my favorite player two feet away from me.

  73. Wait till we do it all over Again January 22nd, 2010 at 11:48 am

    Patrick-But we hold athletes to a higher standard.

    I don’t think we should people who lay children’s games for a living to a higher standard.

    They’re not role models, they’re ballplayers.

  74. gianthinker January 22nd, 2010 at 11:48 am

    Donnie Baseball is my all time favorite player and if his back held up for a few more years he would have been a HOFr. I really hope that one day he can return in pinstripes in some kind of coaching capacity and get a ring where he should have in years past.

  75. SJ44 January 22nd, 2010 at 11:48 am

    Why not look up to Mattingly?

    There are plenty of police officers and firefighters who aren’t worthy of being role models.

    My point is, there are bad seeds in every profession.

    You can do a lot worse than use Donnie Baseball as a role model. Especially when it comes to treating people with respect.

  76. Wait till we do it all over Again January 22nd, 2010 at 11:49 am

    2 typos-The word “hold” should be placed after the word “should”, and tack a p on the word lay.

  77. Patrick January 22nd, 2010 at 11:50 am

    Bronx Jeers,

    It’s maniacs like you that caused the player’s parking lot to become the fortress it is today, as you so aptly put it. :)

  78. gianthinker January 22nd, 2010 at 11:50 am

    Dan-Nice story I like that.

  79. SJ44 January 22nd, 2010 at 11:51 am

    “We” don’t hold them to higher standards.

    Don’t speak for everyone.

  80. Tom in NJ January 22nd, 2010 at 11:51 am

    I think it’s a wee bit presumptuous to tell children who they should or shouldn’t look up to.

  81. Patrick January 22nd, 2010 at 11:51 am

    Wait till we do it all over Again,

    Uhh I think you are being a bit arrogant right now. Nobody is saying all ballplayers are heroes and role models. Some are though, guys like Mattingly.

  82. Wait till we do it all over Again January 22nd, 2010 at 11:52 am

    SJ-True. But I don’t like the hero worship of baseball players and media figures. It’s unhealthy.

    Look up to somebody you know, at least. We really know nothing about Donnie Baseball. He seemed nice, but what if we learned he was a horrible cheater and a jerk? Everybody would be crushed.

    Which they shouldn’t be. The standard Mattingly’s held to shouldn’t be that high. e’s being paid to be a ballplayer, not a role model.

  83. Jerkface January 22nd, 2010 at 11:53 am

    I’d rather my kid look up to a baseballer than a police officer. I’d reckon there are more bad apples in a police force than a baseball team.

  84. Wait till we do it all over Again January 22nd, 2010 at 11:53 am

    Patrick-2 things:

    1. How is it being arrogant to say that kids hold up athletes to be heroes and role models?

    2. Yes, you do hold them to higher standards. Mattingly for example. If there were a scndal with Mattingly, people would be crushed.

    Which is unhealthy. They’re athletes, not heroes.

  85. Frank January 22nd, 2010 at 11:54 am

    “Why SHOULD we look up to Mattingly?”

    Looking up to someone and hero worship are not necessarily the same thing.

    To me, actual heroes in the game of baseaball are confined to those many who served the country in war time and Roberto Clemente.

    However, there are many baseball players over the years who, while in no way heroic, do demonstrate some qualities, beyond the game itself, that are quite admirable.

  86. Patrick January 22nd, 2010 at 11:54 am

    Dude who even cares what Mattingly is really like (although by all accounts he’s a classy individual). His image is what counts and that image is he’s a great player and a very nice human being. Why shouldn’t kids try to be like that?

    No offense but I don’t think you are qualified to tell every kid what is healthy and unhealthy with regards to choosing a role model.

  87. Wait till we do it all over Again January 22nd, 2010 at 11:54 am

    Jerkface-Very true.

    Look up to somebody you know and respect.

    I don’t know Mattingly.

  88. Hoffa January 22nd, 2010 at 11:55 am

    Dan,

    Excellent post!

  89. Patrick January 22nd, 2010 at 11:56 am

    It’s arrogant to determine that people I (or others) hold as role models is unhealthy.

  90. Mike January 22nd, 2010 at 11:56 am

    The whole Joe D, Mick, Mattingly thing got me wondering who my son (14 months) will revere like I did Mattingly… he’s a little too young for Jeter (unless he never stops playing), so I wonder where the next Yankee superstar will come from? I wonder if it will be Montero or someone else that hasn’t yet slipped on a Yankee uniform

  91. Wait till we do it all over Again January 22nd, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Patrick-Obviously I’m not telling anybody what to do, or there’d be more people mad at me than this blog. It’s just an opinion. And in my opinion, athletes don’t make good role models. They’re held to too high a standard than could be considered normal.

    If a normal guy is caught cheating, it’s like “Dude that sucks, but I don’ know anything about it, so I can’t judge.”

    Tiger Woods is caught cheating and it’s this major, major scandal. Which it shouldn’t be. Tiger Woods is not a paragon of virtue, he’s a golfer.

  92. Wait till we do it all over Again January 22nd, 2010 at 11:58 am

    Patrick-I’m not “determining” it. It’s just my opinion. Obviously you disagree, but I’m not recanting.

  93. Yanksgal07 January 22nd, 2010 at 11:59 am

    My cousin is big into the autograph shows and has gone to many where he said he is constantly surprised by the different players. The ones that you think are great usually are the worst and vice versa but not Donnie Baseball …he was what he always was ..gracious. There were so many fans there for his autograph and contractually he only had to stay for x amount of hours. He stayed for over three additional hours of his own time to make sure each and every person got an autograph. My cousin (a Met fan) said that he was definitely the nicest person at any show he attended which have been numerous. He said the one of the worst is Willie Mays..doesn’t even look up when he signs…just wants to make his money and leave. He just recently attended a show with Torre and he said he was quite rude too…didn’t look up once ..just signed and kept talking to the person sitting with him ignoring the fans. I went to one show with him where I met Paul O’Neill (my cousin gave me his autograph as a gift). Paul was terrific and so friendly to everyone. I also met Bobby Murcer who gave me a hug when I said it was wonderful to see him …he looked so good at the time…this was in January 2008. Sadly he died that July.

    Anyway …the point is …Donnie was and still is one class act. I hope he comes back to us …SOON !!

    Go Yankees 2010 !!!

  94. rconn23 January 22nd, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    This post really hits home for me. I’m from Nashville, TN, which of course, has no major league franchise.

    What it does have is the AAA Nashville Sounds. A real treat of my childhood, was getting to watch Don Mattingly and Willie McGee on the same team, when the Sounds were the AA affiliate of the Yankees.

    I grew up idolizing Mattingly and because of him, my love of the Yankees was born. (My dad grew up idolizing The Mick.)

    I’ve never seen an athlete as gracious with the fans as Mattingly was with those in Nashville. He tore through the Southern league that year and was part of one of the greatest miinor league clubs in history.

    About 11 years ago, he returned to Nashville to have his number retired. Just like old times, my father and I went to ballpark to watch Donnie Baseball.

    If you want to know what kind of man Mattingly, is here is a column I wrote for a small newspaper around that time. (Ignore the poor editing, I was young, and we were understaffed:)

    http://earth.vol.com/~rconn/richard_article.htm

  95. Patrick January 22nd, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Wtwdiaoa,

    What if that normal guy was someone you looked up to? I think you’d be crushed if that person was someone you held in high regard.

    Following your logic, NOBODY should be looked up to as role models because the truth is, everyone is flawed.

    If you’re saying we shouldn’t look up to athletes because they aren’t paragons of virtue then who should we look up to? Priests and other religious figures? Those are the only people who’s sole purpose in life is to be “paragons of virtue”.

    Why are athletes flawed role models and lets say accountants aren’t? Everyone makes mistakes, not just athletes.

  96. murphydog January 22nd, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Nice work, Dan. Donnie Baseball will be forever in the hearts of any Yankee fan who saw him play. Put another way, he may not be in the Hall of Fame, but he’ll never be able to pay for a drink in NY.

    As for the “don’t look up to athletes” thing, why should there be a blanket ban on athletes as role models? Of course some of them are cheaters and worse, but so are some politicians, priests and parents. So it’s not about job title.

    I want my kid to be able to admire a person for their single-minded focus, a lifetime of hard work and honest preparation, an ability to lead by example, humility and the common touch. If that person happens to be rich, relatively speaking, I should tell my kid that’s a bad person? Of course not.

    All the more admirable is the fact that Donnie dealt with personal disappointment and came through it well. My kid needs to have an example of how to handle success as well as failure in life. Both success and adversity teach, but adversity teaches more.

  97. Tala08 January 22nd, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    Pick a parent, a fireman, an ambulance driver, or a mentor as a hero. Picking athletes is unhealthy.”

    What happens when mommy cheats on daddy, daddy beats mommy or the ambulance driver lets someone die because they are on a lunch break?

    Kids need to be told that all people make mistakes and will possibly disappoint you. The kid’s “real person” mentor might not have transgressions that make the front page but if the kid finds out they will still be disappointed if you don’t teach kids with some common sense.

  98. Wait till we do it all over Again January 22nd, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    I met Yogi Berra at an autograph show. I went to get a bat signed by him. I managed to have a conversation with him. I brought the bat over and he said “Oh no, I don’t sign bats.” Disappointed (though I’d been warned of this possibility), I said “Darn,” and gave him my hat to sign, and then “Thanks, Yogi.” as I walked away.

    That hat is a lucky hat.

  99. Wait till we do it all over Again January 22nd, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    Patrick-Let’s gon on a new tangent of logic then. If kids pick ANY role model, they should be told that such people are NOT perfect-they have falws, but we respect them for their virtues. I think with athletes kids look up to them too much as paragons of virtue as well as ballplayers. If you’re going to look up to them, know their flaws too, and accept them.

    So, on this new line of thinking, the problem with athletes is not that they’re just role models, it’s that they’re too often hero-worshipped.

    So, I concede the point that if looked at the right away, anybody could be an acceptable role model.

    Never let it be said that I don’t admit when I’m wrong. ;-)

  100. upstate kate January 22nd, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    good post, a nice change in topic from the past few days.

    I think it is ok to respect and admire athletes for the qualities they exhibit. My sister (red sox fan) and I have a joke WWJD? what would Jeter do? It is not that we think he is perfect, but he has qualities we admire.

    Ron Guidry was my favorite back in the day, I admired him but never thought he was perfect.

  101. Wait till we do it all over Again January 22nd, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Tala08-Yes, exactly. Nicely said.

  102. Patrick January 22nd, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    Wait till we do it all over Again,

    Ok I agree, all role models should be qualified with the sentiment that everyone makes mistakes, including athletes.

    Now that we’re on the same page, when do we start writing the book about raising children?

    My people will contact your people :)

  103. SJ44 January 22nd, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    Why is it unhealthy? Are there psychological or medical surveys that speak to this topic?

    Most counselors actually support people finding someone they admire to role model.

    When Ted Bundy filled out his college application, he called his father his “hero”.

    He was also an altar boy and just about all of his neighbors talked about what a “nice boy” he was.

    He was also a serial killer.

    Conversely, there are millions and millions of people out there who have had their favorite athletes poster on their walls growing up who turned out to be perfectly normal, upstanding citizens. They have also raised perfectly normal, nice children who have done the same.

    To paint with as a wide a brush as you choose to paint on this topic (NO athlete should be a role model) is foolish and limiting.

    Athletes have served as inspiration for a lot of kids to make something of their lives. Why is that a bad thing?

    As far as being “disappointed” when something bad happens? Hey, that’s life.

    Bad things happen to ALL kinds of people.

    You don’t have to “know” Don Mattingly to admire and respect him. Yes, even role model him if that serves as a positive inspiration in your life.

  104. Bronx Jeers January 22nd, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    Bronx Jeers,

    It’s maniacs like you that caused the player’s parking lot to become the fortress it is today, as you so aptly put it. :)

    —————————————————————

    Probably. But it was a different world back then. Anyway, I see I wasn’t the only fan that caught Donnie at that traffic light (see Dan)

    My story was after a day game but after night games, at a certain time, maybe 11:00 pm, the cops would just pack up and leave. The players that left late were totally on their own. And most didn’t seem to mind signing a few balls or scraps of paper for those of us that hung around to “press the flesh” with them.

    Rickey Henderson was a big signer. I remember he even carried around his own green sharpie (he was on the A’s at the time)

    The point is that it was great fun for kids. It’s unfortunate that it can’t be that way today but it’s also understandable.

  105. Wait till we do it all over Again January 22nd, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    Well, that was an interewsting discussion.

    I’m off to have lunch. Cheers, lohuders.

  106. Wait till we do it all over Again January 22nd, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    Ugh, take out that w in interesting.

    SJ-The point is conceded. My brush is smaller, thank you.

  107. DT - OPPC member January 22nd, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Anyone who look down on Don Mattingly must be more than 6 feet tall.

  108. Patrick January 22nd, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Bronx Jeers,

    I was just kidding with you but I agree, it’s a shame that athletes are more closed off from the fans nowadays.

  109. CR9 January 22nd, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    It’s believed the Angels will pay most of the two years and $23 million remaining on Matthews’ contract with the Angels.”

    There goes my idea.

    But who knows if the Angels would have paid most of the contract for us anyways.

  110. rodg12 January 22nd, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    GreenBeret7 January 22nd, 2010 at 11:44 am

    rodg, if you ever run across that video, please throw it on this board, please.
    _________________

    Will do.

  111. SJ44 January 22nd, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    The Angels had to do that because Matthews can’t play anymore.

    He’s another guy who, once off the juice, saw his production drop dramatically.

    He’s reduced to being filler until Beltran comes back.

    The Mets are really a mess right now. What a terrible roster.

  112. Noreaster January 22nd, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    I have two signed baseballs, 1) Yogi and 2) Donny Baseball. If I could still get a Munson autograph I’d spring for that too.

    Nice post. I can’t wait for the team comparison magazines to hit the stands…

  113. stuckey January 22nd, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    I have a weird Mattingly story. Only time in my life this happened, but it happened.

    As a 13-year old in ’83 Mattingly of course became MY Yankee. One day in the later 80′s, (don’t remember what year, all I remember was up to this point, I don’t think Mattingly spent any or any significant time on the DL) a thought pops into my brain outta literally nowhere – Mattingly is injured. There was nothing from the game before or the morning papers that even hinted at injury.

    That night I turn on ABC radio (home of the Yanks in the day) for the pre-game, and first thing outta of the announcers mouth is Mattingly is surprisingly headed to the DL.

    Weirder thing is, I didn’t have a holy s**t moment like I’d won a scratch off ticket or made a wild guess and was right. I didn’t go tell anyone about it. It was like a KNEW it already. Wasn’t surprised at all.

    I’m as pragmatic and logical [wink Erica] as they come, but that one incident suggests to me there is something out there humans can pick up on. ESP if you will.

    It wasn’t a prediction. I just KNEW something that had happened that because there was no Internet, hadn’t been informed of it yet.

  114. Ed in PR January 22nd, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    Mattingly is siglehandedly the reason why I’m a Yankee fan today. I’m 34 now and back then every childhood friend I had was a Met fan. We would argue who was better at first Donnie or Keith Hernandez every single day. I idolized Mattingly and tried my darndest to imitate his batting stance even though I’m a righty. He along with Griffey had the sweetest swings I’ve ever seen.

    It was awfully hard on me seeing the Met’s win it all in 86, I was just 11. The Yankees back then were pretty awful throughout my childhood. But Mattingly made being a Yankee fan so much easier back then nonetheless.

  115. upstate kate January 22nd, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    An athlete making a mistake can be used as a teachable moment that no one is perfect. I was never a big fan of Arod, but when he was caught using steroids and admitted it, my opinion of him rose. Contrast that w/ Roger/Sosa/Bonds who still refuse to admit anything.

  116. Noreaster January 22nd, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    Update Kate, make sure you include Manny and Ortiz in that list!

  117. Frank January 22nd, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    CR9:

    I’d think they’d have had to pay the lionshare of that contract to whatever team Matthews was moved to. They may be more comfortable paying him to play for the Mets than the Yankees, but they would have had to pay for Matthews to play for the Yankees too.

  118. upstate kate January 22nd, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    Noreaster
    how could I forget them :)

  119. CR9 January 22nd, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    Frank

    I understand that. But my point was they probably did not want to send him to us paid for.

  120. Russ January 22nd, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    Wonderful post, Dan.

    I became a baseball fan and a Yankees fan because of Donnie Baseball. He gets so overlooked now because of the brevity of his career, but this post was a nice reminder to all of his greatness.

    Thanks for the words.

  121. Tony in Albany January 22nd, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    Great piece of writing Dan – best pinch hitting article yet in my opinion.

  122. Josh January 22nd, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    I am a 3rd generation Yankee fan, born in 1975. I was about 8 years old when I first heard of Don Mattingly, “the new guy at first base”. He made headlines after hitting an inside-the-park homerun. For the next 12 years, I and so many others revered Donald Arthur Mattingly. We recall with pride his 1984 batting title, 1985 MVP, the 1986 MVP robbery, his 6 Grand Slams in 1987 and hitting a homer in 8 straight games, which still stands today despite the steroid era.
    Donnie Baseball was a bright light during a dim period in Yankee history and I hope to meet him someday. His homerun during the 1995 playoffs still gives me the chills.

  123. John January 22nd, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    My favorite Mattingly story is this: 1993, go to a double header game at the Stadium, Tigers, Yankees. This was Bogg’s first year on the team, when they were starting to get better but weren’t quite there yet. Mattingly was out of the games with some hand injury (one of the many injuries that seemed to plague him from 89 on) so I, and my friends, were naturally disappointed, but a day and a night at the Stadium was just fine.
    First game, Yankees win pretty easily, something like 8-4. Second game, Yankees blow the lead top of the ninth. Everyone is dejected. Bottom of the ninth comes, Yankees down by one, Tigers get an out, and as the second batter of the inning comes up, who do you see walking out of the dugout, to the on deck circle? Donnie Baseball. By this time, the Stadium was pretty empty, but those that were left absolutely ERUPTED. People were chanting his name, screaming and hollering, barely watching the at bat taking place. The batter (can’t remember who) gets a walk, so here comes Donnie, man on first, one out, down by a run in the bottom of the ninth, Stadium at a fevers pitch, even though there are probably only 15,000 people still there. First pitch, high. Second pitch, Mattingly slouches down, leans into it and, wham, right into the right field corner, a double, scoring the guy from first, tie game. Place is out of control. Pitching change takes place and the whole time between at bats the fans are serenading Donnie with cheers. It was jubilation. It was that storybook moment you go to the games for. It is why baseball is such a great game because it can create that kind of memory on an August night between two teams going no where fast during a nondescript game. And Donnie, battered, bruised, no longer the dominant player I had grown up watching as a little kid, delivering a perfect baseball moment. The Yanks ended up winning an inning later on, of all things, a Boggs upper deck homer.
    I saw a lot of Donnie. My first game ever was in 1988 against the Red Sox at the Stadium where Donnie went 3-5 with a homer, and I was also at Game 2 against the Mariners in 1995 and was sitting only a few rows away from where Mattingly hit his last home run. But that double header, where he came off the bench and got that hit, will always, always be my favorite memory of Donnie.
    As a 31-year-old with no kids of my own yet, I often wonder whether this next generation will look quizically upon all of us in this generation who idolize Donnie. To them, he may simply be an oft-injured player who had some great years during the 80s but played in one of the few down times in Yankee history. But, to us, he will always be the reason to love Yankee baseball when there weren’t any others

  124. Bodhisattva - Destiny Wears Pinstripes January 22nd, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    Stuckey,

    Jung called it the collective unconscious.

    And it is very real.

  125. Mark in DC January 22nd, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Great article Dan! We can’t forget Donnie Baseball. I grew up watching Mattingly and can’t help but think of what might have been if he had a good back. Thanks for bringing back those memories.

  126. Dan January 22nd, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    Thanks for the kind words, everybody. It’s really fun reading about everyone’s own Mattingly stories.

    John, absolutely LOVED your doubleheader story. The ’93 season was a season of revitalization for both the Yanks and Mattingly himself, he put up 17 homers and 88 RBIs that year. He was actually one of the most productive first basemen in the league that summer, before injuries took their toll down the stretch.

    I was at the Boston game in late September that year when Mike Stanley’s game-ending pop-up was waved off when a fan ran on the field. He ended up keeping the rally alive and it eventually got to Mattingly, who won the game with a two-run single through the right side.

    I remember the Stadium crowd exiting down the “Slippery When Wet” tunnels belting out the famous “Don-nie Base-ball” chant. Good times.

  127. Ant928 January 22nd, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    I lived in Evansville for awhile last year and let me tell you…they love him as much there as here. I went to a bar to watch the Yanks out there and there was a signed #23 jersey on the wall. Funny enough the place was called “Boston’s”.

  128. saucY January 27th, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    the man that got me into baseball

    thumbsup!

  129. Harold Hashinsky January 29th, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    I saw the end of Joe DiMaggio’s career, the entire Mick’s career (my idol), Therman Munson’s career, Donnie Baseball’s career, Derek Jeter’s career, and hopefully more in the 2000′s. I attended over 1500 games at Yankee Stadium, and have had 2 season tickets to spring training in Tampa – I wait for that the entire year. I don’t miss the Yankees when they come in to Tropicana Field each year. It appears the Yankees do strange things and make strange moves – like not resigning Damon – a proven producer, on an excuse of $$. NONSENSE!! Maybe we can win with the team that Cashman is putting together, but letting a top quality pitcher go from L.A. to Boston just for $$ doesn’t make sense – they didn’t have to give up anyone to get Lackey!!
    There were 4 or 5 real quality left fielders out there that we “passed up”. Is he looking for Carl Crawford next year?? I hope so. Will we win in 2010 – a big gamble?? Is Joe Mauer destined to be a Yankee in 2011?? Do we need to save big $$ for those possible transactions? Do we have other pitchers in mind for next year?? A whole lot of questions that Cashman gets paid to deal with, and us fans try to rationalize, pull apart, digest, and continue to hope we survive and win!! I am not a good loser – for sure!
    Harold Hashinsky (hashinsky@tampabay.rr.com)

  130. D Rose Shoes August 18th, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    Plant lease agreement regarding the rapid louboutin shoes and large the more shoe factory prepaid rent for 10 years a total of 50 million to the Tang Kim village, together with Tang Kim collective economic capital 20 million, 5 February 2010, is located in the Proton Green Street Park, 1400 square aloe plant broke ground, the current construction project is in full swing, is expected to be completed early in May.

  131. Kobe Shoes August 19th, 2014 at 3:51 am

    And, what better piece to start with than a woman’s top? We’ve gathered a few of the hottest fashions around so you can make the most of these chic choices. Don’t ever settle for a women’s top that isn’t just right! Let’s face it: when you look good, you feel good, and we’re to help you take on any day in the absolute best way.

  132. Cheap Nike Foamposite August 21st, 2014 at 10:19 am

    Fashion is usually effectively reflected by means of your accessories and costume.

Leave a comment below


Sponsored by:
 

Search

    Advertisement

    Follow

    Mobile

    Read The LoHud Yankees Blog on the go by navigating to the blog on your smartphone or mobile device's browser. No apps or downloads are required.

Advertisement

Place an ad

Call (914) 694-3581