Dodger’s Manager, Don Mattingly

As a young man, Don Mattingly was known for his positive attitude.  Don led his high school baseball team to fifty-nine straight victories setting a state record in Indiana.  In 1978 and 1979, Mattingly was All City, All Conference, and All State in baseball.  During his four year high school career Don batted a very impressive .463.  After high school Don accepted a baseball scholarship to Indiana State, but was then drafted by the Yankees and decided to start his pro career.

During his time in the minors from 1979 to1981, Don batted .316 or better and he was moved to the majors late in the 1982 season.  His first full year in the majors Mattingly played on a part-time basis at first base and in the outfield.  In 1984, Don garnered the starting first base position and was an MVP candidate when he owned the AL batting title hitting .343 with 207 hits.  The 1985 season was just as impressive for Mattingly who was once again the MVP in the American League batting .324, with 35 home runs and 145 RBI’s.  That year he also won the first of nine Golden Gloves.

During the 1986 and 1987 seasons Don was still very impressive, achieving 238 league leading hits, batting .352, with 31 home runs; hitting home runs in eight consecutive games and six grand slams.  In 1987 Mattingly began having back problems and his impressive stats began to wain.  Don underwent extensive physical therapy, but his impressive physical prowess was never restored.  Don continued to play some, spent extended periods on the injured list, perhaps biding his time.

From 1997 to 2003, Mattingly had a position as a special instructor during spring training for the Yankees.  In 2003, Don was named as the Yankees hitting coach.  In 2006, Mattingly became the Yankees bench coach.

In 2007, Mattingly followed Joe Torre to the Los Angeles Dodgers to act as the hitting coach, but due to family problems he stepped down from that role and became a special assignment coach.  On July 9, 2008, Mattingly resumed the position of hitting coach and they  made the playoffs and repeated that success in 2009.  When Joe Torre retired in 2010, Mattingly accepted the position of manager and on March 31, 2011, he got his first win at home, against San Francisco.

The 2011 season was plagued with both injured players and dismal play.  At the All-Star break the Dodgers were ten games under .500, but Mattingly stayed positive about his teams chances to get back in the mix, even though critics said it was impossible.  In the end, Don’s lifelong positive approach paid off and they went 41 and 28 after the break and Mattingly was looking like a winner again.

Looking forward to the 2012 season it seems that Mattingly is going to need more than his positive attitude for a winning season.  Everyone agrees that the Dodgers need a big hitter and there are no prospects on the horizon.  Mattingly has been candid in saying that the 2012 season is not looking promising.  Mattingly said lots of ideas are being considered and that he is a believer in having a Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C in place.  Positive attitude has traditionally been a key to winning for Mattingly and he is familiar with success, so it is probably best not to count them out of the game. Be sure you go out and cheer  by buying your Dodgers tickets today.