Hall of Fame Ballot Review – Don Mattingly


Don Mattingly isn’t a first year candidate (it’s actually his 11th time on the ballot), but he’s a candidate I haven’t reviewed prior for the Hall of Fame.

The closest that Mattingly has come to enshrinement unfortunately was his 1st year (28.2%), and has never reached that number since.

Career Accomplishments
1985 AL MVP
1984 AL Batting Champ (.343)
6 All Star Appearances
9 Gold Gloves
3 Silver Sluggers
.307 career batting average
7 .300+ batting average seasons
3 200 hit seasons
3 30-HR seasons
6 seasons with 125+ OPS+
5 100+ RBI seasons

The Case for Mattingly

Mattingly was one of the dominant all-around players of the 1980s, who provided elite level defense, elite level hitting, and solid power for a majority of his career. He won an MVP award, a batting title (and could have won a couple more), and

The Case Against Mattingly

Mattingly’s career was shorter than most, due to injuries to his back. He did not really have a very long period of elite production, and tailed off very quickly. He also played during an era of heightened offensive production that did not lend himself well to in comparison.

Analysis

Mattingly seems like another tweener candidate to me. He clearly was an elite first baseman from 1984-1987, and one of the best in the league until 1989. But he finished his career with a WAR of 39.8, and only had 4 seasons with a WAR of 5 or higher. Unfortunately, injuries clearly derailed his career, and he is another player where I wonder “What might have been”.

MY VOTE: NO

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