MLB Hall of Fame: Ballot not so sweet for Lou Whitaker

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 16: Brayan Pena
DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 16: Brayan Pena /
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First Base: Played from 1982 to 1995

  • .307/.358/.471, 124 wRC+, 40.7 WAR
  • All-time rank at position: 51st
  • Positional rank from 1970-1987: 21st

Mattingly’s career occupies some of the Modern Baseball and some of the Today’s Game Era. He came up to the big leagues for a cup of coffee with the Yankees in 1982, played 91 games for them in 1983, and finally busted out with his first great year in 1984.

He had his best stretch of play from 1984 to 1987 but continued to play until 1995. If you have to put him in one era over another, it makes sense to put him in the Modern Baseball, because that’s when he was at his very best.

When Mattingly was good, he was really good. He won the AL MVP Award in 1985 when he led the league in RBI and doubles. He finished second the following year when he led the league in hits, doubles, and slugging percentage.

He was the face of the Yankees in the mid-1980s, the guy known as “Donnie Baseball” who once helped himself to a handful of a young fan’s popcorn on a foul ball into the seats.

As good as he was at his peak, Mattingly’s back injuries hampered his power output and cut into his value during the last half of his career. He ranks 51st all-time among first baseman in Fangraphs WAR, which is below Mark Grace, Mark Teixeira, and Carlos Delgado, among many others.

My Verdict: No on Donnie Baseball for the MLB Hall of Fame.