New York Yankees: Top 10 First Basemen in Franchise History

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Don Mattingly of the New York Yankees. (Photo by Jeff Carlick/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
Don Mattingly of the New York Yankees. (Photo by Jeff Carlick/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

Yankees all-time first baseman: 2. Don Mattingly (1982-1995) (42.4 WAR)

One of two players on this list to have their number retired by the Yankees is Don Mattingly. Although he played in what many consider as the dark ages for this illustrious franchise, Mattingly made many contributions to this team that earned him the second spot on this list.

As a 19th round draft pick out of high school in 1979, Mattingly opted to forego college and start his minor league career. After a few seasons, he was briefly called up in 1982, but he wouldn’t find consistent playing time until 1984, when he burst onto the scene as a 23-year-old star.

In his first full season, Donnie Baseball led the league in hits (203), doubles (44), and AVG (.343). The following season, Mattingly led the league in doubles (48) and RBI (145). He also amassed 35 HR and a .939 OPS, earning him the 1985 AL MVP Award.

Mattingly went on to collect six All-Star selections, three Silver Slugger awards, and a whopping nine Gold Glove awards. His nine Gold Gloves rank second all-time among first basemen, behind only Keith Hernadez with 11.

Over 14 seasons, Mattingly hit 222 HR, 442 doubles, and 1,099 RBI. Unfortunately for Mattingly, his injuries caused the Yankees to sign Tino Martinez following the expiration of Mattingly’s contract after the 1995 season. After sitting out 1996 unsigned, Mattingly called it quits in January of 1997. Unlike many of the Yankees all-time greats, Mattingly never appeared in a World Series, despite the team making it to the promised land the year before he was called up (1981) and winning it the year after his final season (1996).

In his only playoff series, Mattingly didn’t disappoint, as he went 10-for-24 with four doubles and six RBI in the 1995 ALDS.