Donnie Baseball: LA Style
By Editorial Staff
1985 would prove to be an even better season for Don Mattingly power wise. He batted well over .300 with a .327 batting average. This season he hit 32 homeruns (compared to 23 in 1984.) He also led the league in RBIS with an astounding 145. This was the highest RBI for a Yankee first basemen since Lou Gehrig had accomplished the feat. This season was probably Don Mattingly’s best major league season. To recognize his feats for the 1985 season, Don Mattingly was awarded the American League MVP.
Mattingly continued to play inspired baseball for his major league career. Despite injuries and no postseason appearances, Mattingly always kept his head held high. He was even named captain of the New York Yankees. After the strike shortened 1994 season, Mattingly announced he would play one more big league season in hopes of making the playoffs. 1995 would be Don Mattingly’s last season in major league baseball as a player. The Yankees led by Mattingly’s will to win and desire for postseason glory made the playoffs as the first ever wild card team for the American League. They would take on the Seattle Mariners in the first round of the playoffs.
Many of the Yankees on the 1995 playoff roster hadn’t been in the playoffs before. Knowing this Mattingly took the reigns as leader of the ball club for the last time. Despite batting over .410 for the series and hitting his first career playoff homerun, the Yankees would lose the series three games to two. Don Mattingly finished his career with a .307 batting average with 222 homeruns and 1099 RBIS. His 9 gold gloves are second most all time for first basemen. He also had over 2100 hits for his career.
Mattingly would stay out of baseball for a few seasons until 2004 when he became the Yankees hitting coach. He would remain with the Yankees until the end of the 2007 season where he became the bench coach for the LA Dodgers. He was taught how to manage the game of baseball by Joe Torre for three seasons. When Joe Torre announced his retirement at the end of the 2009 season the Dodgers named Don Mattingly manager. He is currently managing the Dodgers Arizona Fall League team to enhance his managing skills before the 2011 season.
Don Mattingly was certainly a great, if not Hall of Fame player. If his success as a player is anything like his success as a manager will be then Dodger Fans can expect championships for many years to come!