Don Mattingly brings the Los Angeles Dodgers into Yankee Stadium for a two-game series with the New York Yankees this week. Affectionately known by fans as “Donny Baseball,” Mattingly played for the Yankees from 1982-1995. How do his career numbers stack up against other Yankee first baseman, all-time? Well, let’s take a look.
Mattingly is second in batting average. His .307 career average is behind only Lou Gehrig. That’s lofty company. Gehrig hit .340 in his career. Gehrig was one of the few players in history capable of keeping pitchers from pitching around “The Babe.” Mattingly captured the 1984 American League Batting Title by hitting .343. His Yankee teammate, Dave Winfield, finished second at .340.
As for the Yankees’ first baseman- home run list, Mattingly again is second. He smashed 222 homers in his career, many of them into the right field stands. Once again, he trailed only Gehrig, who hit 493. Mattingly also won the Silver Slugger Award, which is given for power numbers, in 1985, 1986 and 1987.
His 1099 career runs batted in was more than any Yankee first baseman except for-you guessed it-Lou Gehrig. In 1985, Mattingly was the American League RBI champion with 145. He beat out the Baltimore Orioles’ Eddie Murray who had 124.
He could flash the leather too. His nine Gold Gloves are the most by any Yankee first baseman. Sorry Lou. Opposing hitters knew they needed to elevate the ball to get it passed Mattingly. Even then, they often were left stamping their feet in the batter’s box when he grabbed their line drives.
Perhaps his most remarkable accomplishment came in 1987 when he tied the Major League record by hitting a home run in eight consecutive games. During the streak, Yankee Fans sat glued to televisions and radios every night to see if he would do it again. The record, previously set by Dale Long of the Pittsburg Pirates, was later tied by Ken Griffey Jr. in 1993 while he was with the Seattle Mariners.
Add to all of this six all-star selections and a 1985 American League Most Valuable Player Award, and it’s clear why he was known as “Donny Baseball.”