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.

About @Jason_IIATMS

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

12 thoughts on “Don Mattingly, Outfielder?

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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….