Donnie Baseball: LA Style

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Dodgers fans, the 2011 season should be a historic one.  New manager Don Mattingly has high expectations for the ballclub.  However this will be Mattingly’s first season managing in the big leagues.  In this article, we’re going to look back at the career of Don Mattingly and just how he became the skipper of the Dodgers.

Donald Arthur Mattingly was born in Evansville, Indiana on April 20th 1961.  From the moment he was walking, you could tell that Mattingly had athletic skills.  These skills were never more evident than on the baseball diamond.  He was drafted by the New York Yankees in 1979.  He was taken in the 19th round, but that didn’t stop his dreams of making it to the big leagues.  Mattingly persevered in the minor leagues and would make his major league debut in 1982.  He would be the backup first basemen for two years until he won the starting job in 1984.  1984 would also be an historic season for Don Mattingly. This is because he would begin a legacy that not many could say they’ve achieved in baseball.

1984 would be the season where Don Mattingly began to prove himself in the American League.  He showed that he could handle the American League pitching that came his way.  Mattingly would lead the league with a .343 batting average.  He also led the league in hits with 207 and doubles with 44.  However the major story of the 1984 season was the batting title race between Don Mattingly and future Hall of Famer (and Yankee teammate) Dave Winfield.  Entering the final game of the season, they were separated by percentage points for the batting title.  Mattingly out hit Winfield that game to claim the batting title.  This was so significant because Winfield was the highest paid player in the Major Leagues at the time.  He had established himself as a star with the San Diego Padres and then with the Yankees.  Mattingly, was a 23 year old first basemen that entered the league two years earlier.  This put “Donnie Baseball” on the mark for baseball fans across the country.  The best however was yet to come.