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Mattingly On Hall of Fame Ballot for Sixth Straight Year; Crossing His Fingers but Not Holding His Breath
Friday, December 30, 2005
"The Hall of Fame would be a great honor, but I do not live my life based on whether or not that will ever happen. So in the grand scheme of things, it is not that important." - - - Mattingly

Hall of Fame voters will be questioning their eyesight when they see old Donnie Baseball’s name on the ballot again this year – “wasn’t he on the ballot last year? And every year before that?” This year marks the sixth consecutive year that Mr. Mattingly is up for induction into the Hall of Fame, and despite his talent and popularity, I don’t think six is going to be his lucky number.

There’s no question that Mattingly had an exciting and illustrious playing career. He played with the Yankees from 1982 all the way through 1995 and maintained an impressive .307 overall batting average. He won nine Gold Glove awards, was a six-time all-star, won three Silver Sluggers and was named MVP in 1985. During the six-season span of 1984-1989 Mattingly averaged .327 with twenty-six home runs and 114 RBIs per season. In the late eighties it seemed that Mattingly was on a straight path towards Cooperstown.

Unfortunately, Mattingly’s body wasn’t interested in Cooperstown. The last six years of his career were slowed down by perpetual back problems. His average dropped and his power plummeted, and he didn’t reach more than 86 RBIs in any of his final six seasons. He wasn’t awful by any means; he continued to hit a good amount of doubles and didn’t let his BA dip below .256, but he was no longer playing like a Hall of Fame athlete.

If the voting were based only on a player’s best years, then Mattingly (and countless others) would be a shoo-in. And even with his injury-ridden years, his numbers add up to a great player. So why no Cooperstown?

The bottom line is that Mattingly’s career as a whole simply does not warrant HOF status. He’s a great athlete, a well-loved personality and a great coach, but when you stack his numbers up to guys that were voted into the HOF he just doesn’t compare. Donnie Baseball will always be remembered as one of the greats, but its doubtful that he will join Cobb, Winfield, Babe, Whitey and the rest in the Hall.


posted by Yankees Chick @ Friday, December 30, 2005  
  • At 2:38 PM, Anonymous Captain Scurvy said…

    I'm sure you've heard this before, Yankees Chick, but Mattingly's numbers are quite close to one guy that is in the Hall: Kirby Puckett. Every year for the last six years as the voting comes up the official yankees website runs the same tired article in which they compare the stats and they are eerily similiar. Puckett even played for about the same amount of time as Mattingly's good years and ultimately had to leave the game forever due to injury.

    The only difference between the two, besides the fact that Mattingly played through his injuries while Puckett either would or could not, is that Puckett has two World Series rings (with the Twins, har har) and Mattingly has none.

    History weighs against Mattingly too. Most of the Yankees hall-of-famers were members of World Championship teams.

    For my money Don Mattingly remains my favorite Yankee. It's purely a nostalgic decision, it has nothing to do with numbers. As I grew up the team stunk. With just a very few exceptions, he was about the only reason to watch or root for the Yankees. And besides his once-great playing prowess, he is also among the nicest men to ever play the game. I wear his #23 to The Stadium with pride.

    My best hope is that someday the veteran's committee will vote him in. I seriously doubt the baseball writers will ever make him a Hall of Famer.

  • At 4:00 PM, Anonymous metsrtehsux0r said…

    I'm still two years away from getting a ballot, but when I do you can bet that Don won't be getting my vote.

    Don was a good player, and for several years he was a great player, but he didn't maintain that greatness for a long enough time.

    I personally feel like more and more the Hall if becoming the Hall of Oridinary instead of the Hall of Fame. I've grown incredibly tired of people like Puckett making the HoF, because I don't think that they are worthy.

    I look around the majors right now and there are only a handful of people I would include on my Hall ballot if they all retired today.

    Let's keep it the Hall of Fame, the Hall of Spectacular, not the Hall of Decent for a Long Time, which is why when my ballot says "Palemeiro, Rafael" on it, he won't be getting a vote...

  • At 11:04 PM, Blogger whatever said…

    Unfortunately, Donnie Baseball just wasn't the same player after he hurt his back.And it's true,his overall career numbers don't match up to most of the HOFers. But for a while there, in the mid-eighties, there was nobody better.

    Mattingly was a six-time All-Star, won the batting title in 1984,and was the AL MVP in 1985.In 1986 Donnie set Yankee records by hitting 53 doubles, and getting 238 hits.He hit .352 that year, 2nd to Wade Boggs. In 1987 Mattingly set more Yankee records by homering in 8 straight games and by hitting 6 grand slams.And don't forget he won 9 gold gloves over his career, a magician at first base.With credentials like these, I'd say he stacks up pretty well to the Yankee legends that preceded him.

    So, while Don Mattingly may not have the career numbers for the HOF, anybody who followed the Yankees back then and watched Donnie Baseball play, knew how special he really was.

  • At 1:26 PM, Blogger Rob said…

    Hey yankeees chick, I just posted my annual "Why Donnie should be in the Hall of Fame" blog, want to check it out?

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