Anytime in baseball, once you play the game it is a part of you, and it is something that sticks with you. Once you retire, you stick around either through coaching, being an announcer, etc. It is the circle of life. This article is an inside look at a former Yankees player that has become a coach and how he influenced another Yankees player that became very famous. Then after his departure, we will look into the former Yankee who found coaching success after being with the Yankee association and his association with another Yankee player. Let us dive in and see what this is all about, shall we?
Donnie’s Time in MLB
Donnie Mattingly, also known as “Donnie Baseball” and “The Hit Man”, was a former professional baseball player. Born on April 20, 1961, from Evansville, Indiana, he has shown talent. He went to Reitz Memorial High School. Mattingly was originally signed as a 19th round pick in the 1979 amateur draft by the Yankees and scouts Jax Robertson and Gus Poulos. On September 5, 1982, he debuted for the New York Yankees as number 23. He has spent his entire career as a Yankee. He is considered one of the best Yankee players that have never played in the World Series.
In 1987, Mattingly tied Dale Long’s record that was established in 1956 by hitting a home run in eight straight games. Due to his chronic back problems, his career was cut short. His last professional baseball game was on October 1, 1995. In his last season, an up-and-coming player started playing for the New York Yankees. His name is Derek Jeter playing for the number 2. The way that Mattingly has influenced Jeter shows an indication of his talent, skills, and his personality on as well as off the field.
New York Yankees (Hitting Coach)
After he retired from professional baseball, Mattingly was hired as the Yankees’ hitting coach during the 2004-2007 seasons. During this time, Jeter was still playing for the New York Yankees. During this time, they finished first in the AL East Division from 2004-2006 and second in the AL East Division in 2007. The team slash line was also arguably the best in baseball, finishing in the top three in almost every category. This shows the knowledge and wisdom that he imparted upon Jeter as well as the rest of the Yankees team. After the time spent with the Yankees as a coach, he went to the next team on the West Coast. The Los Angeles Dodgers.
LA Dodgers (Coach & Baseball Manager)
In 2008, Mattingly became a coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers. During this time, the Dodgers have been at the top of the NL West Division for the first two years and then fourth in the NL West Division in 2010. In 2011, he became the manager. From 2011-2015, the Dodgers finished no worse than third in NL West, made the playoffs in three straight seasons (2013-2015), and made the NLCS in 2013. This shows the influence he still has not only as a coach but also as a manager for the Dodgers. After 2015, the Dodgers and Mattingly mutually parted ways and Mattingly moved to the Sunshine State to be the manager of the Miami Marlins.
Miami Marlins (Baseball Manager)
In 2016, Mattingly became the manager for the Miami Marlins. During this time, he continues to thrive as a baseball manager. Throughout this time, the Marlins have finished third or better three times in the NL East (2016, 2017, 2020) and made the playoffs during the shortened 2020 season. This shows the influence on him as a manager for the Marlins. As the 2022 season is just starting with spring training, there will always be more room to grow and show his ability as a former baseball player.
As there is a look back at Mattingly’s career as a talented baseball player as well as a coach and manager, he left a legacy as a former Yankee. Even in his last year as a Yankee player and as a coach for the Yankees, he uniquely influenced Jeter. As a teammate and as a coach. Even without Jeter, he is still successful as a manager for two well-rounded teams.
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