Don Mattingly, Known to the Baseball World as "Donnie Baseball", the nickname says it all. What other sports hero has a nickname that involves the name of his sport? I can't think of one. The name made popular by another major league player, Kirby Pucket, although originally coined by then NY Daily News writer Michael Kay. Also known to his fans as the Hitman, an honor no trophy could ever replace.
If he sticks with his premature retirement he would have had a great career. If he comes back he can only add to it. From the time he was chosen by the Yankees in the 19th round of the June 1979 free agent draft to the time he retired he has always given 110%. He was named captain February 28, 1991 a honor given only to player of special caliper. It may be some time before there is another one. He ranks sixth with 2000 hits as a Yankee behind Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, and Yogi Berra. In 1984 he won the American League Batting Championship with a .343 average and topped that off in 1985 with the first American League M.V.P. since Thurman Munson, leading the league with 145 RBI's. In 1986 he set the Yankee single season records for doubles (53) and hits (238). He tied Dale Long's record for most consecutive games hitting a home run (8) in 1987. Donnie also holds major league single-season record for most grand slams with six that same year. A 9-time Gold Glove winner (1985-89 and 1991-94), played in 6 All-Star games and one Division Championship.