3 Yankees Hall of Fame snubs that look more egregious after 2024 election

Time to reevaluate some cases.

May 13,  2010; Bronx, NY, USA;  New York Yankees designated hitter Jorge Posada (20) before the game
May 13, 2010; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees designated hitter Jorge Posada (20) before the game / Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
3 of 4
Next

Don Mattingly

Cases No. 1 and 3 in this list aren't examples of anti-Yankee bias; they're counterarguments insinuating that the Hall of Fame should maybe be something it's not.

Case No. 2? A clear example of anti-Yankee bias, where nobody wants to induct the most famous man in baseball at his peak because ... he got injured too soon? So did Mauer, a decidedly less renowned player than Don Mattingly. Let's have the conversation, especially since the two were offensive clones, both before and after their respective injury breakdowns.

Mauer began his career as a mega-star catcher, then became a solid first baseman in a last-ditch attempt to preserve the bat, which didn't play as well at his new position. Mattingly? He was a first baseman all the way, burning bright before flaming out (though, again, during the flameout, he still won Gold Gloves and batted equivalently to Mauer).

Was Mattingly a stellar fielder, in addition to his .327/.372/.529 line through the age of 27? If elected, he would be only the third Hall of Fame first baseman to have captured a Gold Glove, following behind Jeff Bagwell and Eddie Murray. He won nine of them.

To those of us who didn't watch him live, who didn't bask in his mega-watt glow, who are only reading defensive anecdotes and staring at 161 OPS+ follow-ups to 156 OPS+ MVP seasons, it's impossible to believe his bWAR of 42.4 accurately reflects his contributions. For those who want to use the metric to dismiss him on sight, you're more than welcome to. Everyone else has, including the Veterans Committee that denied him entry last winter and pushed his next opportunity to 2026. The man didn't walk much. Sue him.

Mattingly's peak WAR, though, proves he was not the also-ran his total portrays him as. For his peak seven years, his 35.7 mark rivals Fred McGriff (36.0) and Tony Peréz (36.5), while outclassing slam-dunk inductee Orlando Cepeda (34.5) and accused steroid user David Ortiz (35.2), who did not play defense and was welcomed into the hallowed halls smiling.

Mattingly, the rare Yankees Captain to never win a World Series or postseason series, deserves a more nuanced appraisal of his short-term wizardy, which made him an icon and still leaps off the page today.