Don Mattingly, Outfielder?

Consulting the essential, indispensable B-R.com site, Donnie indeed played some OF:

Year Age Pos G GS Inn Fld% RF/9 RF/G lgFld% lgRF9 lgRFG
1982 21 LF 5 1 23.0 1.000 4.70 2.40 .983 2.31 2.28
1982 21 RF 1 0 1.1 0.00 0.00 2.02 2.30
1983 22 RF 39 28 270.1 .967 1.96 1.51 .979 2.25 2.23
1983 22 LF 14 9 84.0 1.000 1.71 1.14 .975 2.32 2.30
1984 23 LF 13 9 88.1 .950 1.94 1.46 .985 2.27 2.26
1984 23 RF 6 6 51.0 1.000 3.00 2.83 .976 2.22 2.22
1984 23 CF 1 1 8.0 1.000 2.25 2.00 1.000 3.04 3.00
1988 27 LF 1 1 5.0 0.00 0.00 2.34 2.20
1989 28 RF 1 1 8.0 1.000 2.25 2.00 1.000 2.36 2.30
1990 29 LF 1 0 1.0 0.00 0.00 1.80 2.20
6 Seasons OF 76 56 540.0 .977 2.12 1.67 .982 2.50 2.48
4 Seasons RF 47 35 330.2 .975 2.12 1.66 .979 2.25 2.23
5 Seasons LF 34 20 201.1 .979 2.10 1.38 .981 2.30 2.28
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table; Generated 12/31/2010.

-
There’s the proof.  Donnie Baseball started 56 games in the outfield during his career. The sample size is too small, too inconsistent to draw any conclusions about his play, however. And of these 56 starts in the outfield, one piqued my curiousity more than others: One start in centerfield during the 1984 season.  DiMaggio, Mantle, Mattingly?

On April 30, 1984, Donnie Baseball started a game in centerfield and batted leadoff. He had just 2 put-outs and went 0-4 as Floyd Bannister pitched 8.1 scoreless innings (save by erstwhile Yankee, Britt Burns). Ron Guidry took the loss after giving up 4 runs in the first inning, three on a Ron Kittle home run.

The Yanks’ lineup that night:

Batting AB R H RBI BB SO BA OPS WPA aLI WPA+ WPA- RE24 PO A
Don Mattingly CF 4 0 0 0 0 0 .324 .895 -0.042 0.41 0.000 -0.042 -0.7 2 0
Tim Foli SS 4 0 0 0 0 0 .188 .406 -0.044 0.43 0.000 -0.044 -0.8 2 3
Steve Kemp LF 4 1 2 0 0 1 .290 .694 0.010 0.27 0.025 -0.015 0.2 1 0 2B
Don Baylor DH 4 1 3 0 0 0 .216 .663 0.008 0.48 0.040 -0.032 0.8 2B
Lou Piniella RF 3 1 1 0 1 0 .256 .643 0.016 0.58 0.050 -0.034 0.4 1 0
Toby Harrah 3B 4 0 1 2 0 0 .146 .582 -0.034 0.80 0.048 -0.083 -0.0 2 6 GDP
Roy Smalley 1B 4 0 1 0 0 1 .311 .795 -0.046 0.71 0.020 -0.066 -0.5 11 0 2B
Rick Cerone C 4 0 1 1 0 1 .182 .536 0.003 0.72 0.046 -0.043 0.2 4 0
Omar Moreno PR 0 0 0 0 0 0 .184 .404 0.000 0.00 0.000 0.000 0.0
Andre Robertson 2B 4 0 0 0 0 1 .250 .659 -0.110 0.99 0.000 -0.110 -1.2 1 2
Team Totals 35 3 9 3 1 4 .257 .621 -0.239 0.60 0.229 -0.469 -1.7 24 12
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table; Generated 12/31/2010.

-

How’s that for some names from the archives? So there ya have it… Don Mattingly, OF-1B.

IIATMS overlord and founder. ESPN contributor. Purveyor of luscious reality.

12 thoughts on “Don Mattingly, Outfielder?

  1. Mike Scioscia's tragic illness

    If I'm not mistaken, he was Don Mattingly, third baseman, a few times too.

    • Yes, he played a bit of third base and even filled in at 2B during one game.

      • Dave

        Wasn’t that during Righetti’s no hitter? July 4th 1984? Left handed 3rd and 2nd baseman… don’t see much of that anymore.

        • No, Mattingly played 1B on July 4, 1983, when Righetti threw his no-no. He batted 2nd. The 3B was Bert Campaneris that day.

          Mattingly played 2B only once. On July 24, 1983, Mattingly PH for Steve Balboni in the 7th inning and went to 1B. It was the George Brett Pine-tar game. When the game resumed (after the ruling) on August 18, 1983, Mattingly, for the final out of the game, switched to 2B (Ron Guidry was in CF).

          Mattingly played 3B at Seattle August 29, 1986 (moved from 1B to 3B). He started at 3B, later moving to 1B at Seattle August 30 (1st game of a DH) and played the whole game at 3B at Seattle on August 31st. These were his only three games at 3B.

          • Final out of the top of the 9th, I should say.

          • MattC

            The dates are significant when Donnie played thirdbase. The Yanks were very injured at the time and short on infielders. Donnie played third, left handed, for the three games before minor league help was available on Stember 1. I point out the left handed part because Donnie was pretty ambidextrous and had earlier in his lifetime been capable of playing right handed. He decided to remain left handed because he hadn't practiced righty in too long.

  2. Don Mattingly playing CF and hitting lead-off seems about as natural as Roy Smalley playing 1B… oh wait.

  3. williamnyy23

    Despite having two promising 1B in Mattingly and Balboni (when together at Columbus, Balboni actually played 1B), the Yankees inexplicably moved Ken Griffey Sr. to the position in 1983. One of the reasons was the ill advised signing of Steve Kemp, which crowded the OF situation. When Mumphrey got hurt, Griffey moved back to CF before he himself got hurt. During each span, both Mattingly and Balboni got a shot to play 1B. Luckily, the Yanks were more impressed by Mattingly.

    It's misleading to say he was a 2B/3B though. He only played 1/3 of an inning at 2B in the Pine Tar game and 18 innings (over three games) at 3B when Pags got hurt.

  4. MikeD

    Hard to say from the small number of starts, but I was more than old enough to remember Mattingly when he first came up and he moved quite well in the OF. I'm sure he would have been a decent defensive OFer, which might have been a good thing. We could have kept Fred McGriff and put him at 1B!

  5. I remember Donnie as an OF. Not great. Fundamentally solid.

  6. Jonathan Kahan

    If I remember correctly, he threw out a guy at home from the OF once. I remembered being suprised when he was playing 1B the next season. Then again, I was only 9 at the time….

  7. solomondigital

    That lineup…oh, the humanity!

Comments are closed.