The 2015 Baseball Hall of Fame inductees were announced yesterday with the newest Hall members being Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio. As a die hard Yankees fan I am thrilled that Johnson, a former Yankees starting pitcher, will be inducted I am far more devastated that my favorite Yankee of all time will not be. I am not going to sit here and attempt to pretend that I know everything there is to know about a player’s stats and what truly qualifies them for the Hall but I am going to voice my opinion on Don Mattingly once again being snubbed. Look, I’m not naive enough to think that my opinion matters in the grand scheme of thing but after yesterday’s announcement and reading Mattingly fan’s tweets and posts about their own disappointments I had to say something.
I first saw Mattingly play many years ago when a family friend brought me to my first Yankees game as a present for my graduation from Elementary school. I didn’t know what to expect when I first entered the old Yankee stadium all I knew was more than half of the people in the stadium were wearing the number 23 on their backs. The game was exceptional from start to finish but the moment that stood out to me the most was when Don Mattingly - #23 - walked up to the plate and the stadium erupted in a roaring cheer. I knew immediately that this guy was something special and with one swing of the bat I was hooked. Mattingly hit a grand slam home run during that at bat and when he reached home plate he waved to the crowd and in that moment I got chills. From that day on I dove into the Mattingly fandom. I learned all I could about him and watched every game. I loved the way he played because you could really see how much he loved the game, the team and most importantly, the fans.
I watched as Mattingly broke batting records and won gold glove and won the hearts and minds of baseball fans everywhere, including fans of the rival team, the Boston Red Sox. No one had a single bad thing to say about Mattingly and when he was spoken of it was always a conversation about how incredible he is. He dominated the game in the 80s and did things many others couldn’t. His stats don’t lie, Mattingly was one of the best first basemen the Yankees ever had and this certainly was worthy of Hall of Fame induction, right? Apparently not. The sad reality is, Mattingly got injured and his career was never the same. However, fans of his don’t feel this is justification enough for him not to be inducted. When he was good Mattingly was outstanding and untouchable so why then has his time on the Hall of Fame ballot run out? It is devastating to Mattingly fans because they believe, as do I, that the former “Hitman,” is as deserving as a spot in the Hall as his predecessors.
Many took to their social media accounts to voice their devastation and disappointment. I’ve collected some of my favorites::
@pizzanachos69 - “I refuse to believe in a Hall of Fame that fails to include Don Mattingly.”
@MiaFinatic - “Baseball Hall of Shame! #DonMattingly”
@paulfalwill - “#DonMattingly not voted into Cooperstown again???!!! I’m not even a Yankee fan and I’m offended. #DonMattingly”
@iKirkSr - “I will not visit MLB HOF until Don Mattingly is in. #DonnieBaseball #noPED
@ChrisSerico - Don Mattingly is still the coolest baseball player of all time.
How do you feel about Donnie Baseball being snubbed? Leave your responses in the comments section below.