Inductee — Don Mattingly

mattingly01Don Mattingly

Class of 2001

Birthplace: Evansville, IN



A graduate of Memorial High School in Evansville in 1979, he led the Tigers to a state record 59 straight victories through the 1978-79 season. In 78 the Tigers were crowned State Champions and were State Runners-up in 79. Don was the L.V.Phillips Mental Attitude recipient in 1979. He was All City, All S.I.A.C., and All State in both 1978 and 1979. During the four years he played in high school the Tigers compiled a 94-9-1 won  loss record and Don hit .463. He still holds Memorial records for hits-152, doubles-29, triples-25 (also the state record), RBIS- 140, and runs scored- 99.

The New York Yankees drafted him in the 19th round and he signed rather than attend Indiana State University and play baseball. He made all the stops through the minor leagues, Oneonta, Greensboro, Nashville and then AAA Columbus, and putting up great averages at each stop. In retrospect one wonders how he could have been drafted so low, but my his own admission he wasnt drafted sooner because he couldnt run and couldnt throw. Those perceived shortcomings didnt keep him from achieving greatness.

An outstanding 14 year career began in 1982 and continued through the 1995 season. He made his major league debut 9/8/82 replacing Dave Winfield in the outfield. He played 76 games in the outfield over his career. June 6, 1983 was the first day of his permanent stay with the Yankees, and his last game played was against the Mariners 10/8/95 in the AL Division Series. Don was a six-time All Star and won nine Gold Gloves, the most by a Yankee and the most by an American League first-baseman. In 1984, his first full season, he hit a league best .343. He followed that season with a league M.V.P. in 1985 while leading the American League in RBIS with 145. Also, that 85 season, Don led the league in total bases with 370 and the following season exceeded that with 388 which was the most since DiMaggio in the 1937 season. His 238 hits in the 86 season broke a Yankee record that had stood since 1927.

Compared to other Yankees he ranks second in games played at first base, 1,634, only trailing Gehrig. His 2,153 hits ranks him fifth on the all-time Yankee list. The six grand slams he hit in 1987 set a major league record. 1,099 RBIS ranks him seventh on the all-time list. Dons ten consecutive games with at least one extra base hit in 87 broke Babe Ruths record of nine.

The 15th player to be enshrined in Monument Park, Yankee Stadium, his jersey, #23 was retired August 31, 1997. Don is at home in Evansville with wife Kim and sons Taylor, Preston and Jordan.