5 Reasons Why Don Mattingly is a Los Angeles Dodgers Legend
Five Reasons Why Mattingly is a Dodgers Legend
Legendary baseball player/coach/manager Don Mattingly just got a three-year contract extension this week as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers after speculation and rumors that the Dodgers might want to let him go. This new deal will officially begin next season and go through 2016.
Also known as "Donnie Baseball" and "The Hit Man," before coaching and then managing the Dodgers, the ambidextrous Mattingly had quite an impressive 14-year run as first baseman for the New York Yankees.
While with the Yankees, he was American League batting champion (1984), AL RBI champion and AL MVP (1985), a six-time All-Star, a nine-time Golden Glove Award recipient, and a three-time Silver Slugger recipient. He holds MLB records for grand slams in a single season (six), and for a consecutive game home run hitting streak (eight).
Though has been on the Hall of Fame ballot since 2001, Mattingly has never received the votes necessary for induction, and unfortunately support for him has since waned.
He has had an impressive, though seemingly volatile run as hitting coach and later, manager of the Dodgers, and seems to be the right man for the job for the next few years. He has managed his team to new levels of success.
In 2013 Mattingly and the Dodgers were off to a rocky start because of various injuries left over from the previous May. But then, once the injured players were back up to full speed, the team went on to win the National League West, later beating the Atlanta Braves in the NL Division Series in four games. They then lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Championship Series in six games, but a long-awaited World Series title may be on the near horizon.
Following are five reasons Mattingly is a Dodgers legend. Let me know if you agree!
5. His Positivity and Can-Do Attitude
Mattingly has a reputation for being very positive in his outlook and approach to the game. He asks his players to go out on the field and play the way they're supposed to, and making things simple like that for his team makes him an easy and fun manager to play for, while still garnering the best results.
4. He Learned by Watching the Best
Mattingly has stated that his managerial idols include baseball greats Tony La Russa and Tommy Lasorda, particularly La Russa. He has admired La Russa from his days with the Yankees, when LaRussa was managing the then-dominant Oakland Athletics. It should be no surprise that modeling his managerial style after the likes of La Russa and Lasorda has helped him achieve such great heights.
3. Seinfeld/Simpsons Clout
Not all celebrities, and certainly not all athletes ever got to appear on the classic sit-com Seinfeld, nor do they get appearances on the animated series The Simpsons. Mattingly is directly referenced in several episodes of Seinfeld, and in one particular episode, his uniform pants split in the middle of a game after George Costanza insists that the Yankees should be wearing a lighter fabric like cotton. Around the time Mattingly was benched by the Yankees in the early 90s for refusing to cut his longish mullet-styled hair in accordance with owner George Steinbrenner's policy, he appears on an episode of The Simpsons where he is recruited to play on Mr. Burns' nuclear power plant's softball team. Burns yells at Mattingly more than once to "trim his sideburns," even though Mattingly has never had long sideburns. When Mattingly returns to play with most of the sides of his head completely shaved, he is subsequently fired by burns for not "[trimming] those sideburns!" As he walks off the field, he mutters unexpectedly, "I still like him better than Steinbrenner."
2. Mad Leadership/Managerial Skills
Mattingly is running a record of 260-225 in his three seasons as Dodgers manager. He finished second in the NL Manager of the Year voting in 2013. The Dodgers then went on a franchise record 42-8 run during the next 50 games and ended up winning the NL West by 11 games before losing to the Cardinals in the NL Championship Series.
1. Mattingly's the Man to Take LA to World Series
Last year, despite various injuries among Dodgers players, Mattingly led the Dodgers to 92 wins. This is evidence of Mattingly's determination and swagger as a team manager. Even in the face of rumors of his possibly being fired, he proved that he is more than able to manage talented players amid great adversity. He is the right man for the job of leading the Dodgers to a much-too-long-awaited World Series Title.