Sunday, September 22, 2013

My Top 50 Players On Cardboard #44 Don Mattingly

My Top 50 Players On Cardboard
Don Mattingly

1984 Topps Don Mattingly RC

Hobby Impact-
He's a Yankee who was a pretty good player.  That is always worth quite a bit around the world of baseball cards.  Growing up, the Don Mattingly rookie cards were always pretty good cards to own.  For years I had a copy of the 1984 Topps card, but the bottom left corner had a tear over his picture.  Sometime in college I found a cheap box of 1984 Topps cards and busted them open.  I was pumped to land a good copy of the Mattingly rookie.  I've added the Donruss and Fleer at some point over the years too.  Mattingly rookies are not the most valuable cards in the world, but they are pretty darn popular.

Mattingly's popularity in the hobby extends beyond his rookie cards.  He's one of the few 80s stars whose base cards will sell slightly above junk wax prices and there is good demand on some of his 90s inserts.  In fact, his 90s inserts not only sell, but they actually draw a pretty good price.  I remember trying to put together the 1994 Flair Hot Gloves set a few years back.  Last card I need was Don Mattingly.  Hard to find.  Expensive to buy.  The set is complete, but just know you are going to pay for hard to find Matttingly cards.  His 1993 Finest Refractor is one that frequently crosses triple digits.

1994 Flair Hot Gloves Don Mattingly

On the Field Impact-
As a Cardinals fan I could always identify with Don Mattingly.  Cardinals fans always have their fan favorites and they are always completely overvalued.  For example, there is a huge crowd of people who think that Willie McGee should have his number retired.  McGee had a few nice seasons, but he's not Red Schoendienst, Ozzie Smith, or even Ken Boyer (the only retired Cardinals number of a non-Hall of Famer).  Mattingly might be closer to Ken Boyer than Willie McGee, but in my opinion he's not a Hall of Famer.  Sorry Yankees fans.  He's a really nice player and had some spectacular seasons, but there was not much there when he was not healthy.  Which was often.

Now, the 1980s Yankees were not as bad as everyone made them out to be.  Sure they went a whole decade without a World Series title, but there were some good teams around them.  1983 they won 91 games, but finished third behind the Tigers and World Champion Orioles.  1984 they won 87 and were in the same division as the Tigers.  1985 they won 97 games, 1986 they won 90, 1987 they won 87, 1988 they won 85, and 1989 they were actually really bad.  Through all of those just misses Don Mattingly was the best player on the team.  I like the 1980s Don Mattingly and will readily admit that if the production shown below had continued for a few more years I would support Mattingly for the Hall.

I will spare Yankees fans a screen shot of the 1990s Don Mattingly numbers.  They aren't ugly or anything, but they are not Hall of Fame.  Outside the numbers it seemed Mattingly was a blue collar player, hustled, worked hard, and really cared about the team winning.  I think those qualities as a player earn him a lot of love from Yankees fans and really push some of the Hall talk around the former first baseman.  The plaque in Monument Park is cool and more than enough recognition.  Sideburns.


By the way, he's a pretty good manager too.

Favorite Card-
I am going off the radar a little bit with my favorite Mattingly, but also sticking with the miniature theme from the Eck post.  I am going to go with the 1989 Topps Sticker Back Card of Donnie Ballgame.  I always really liked this set.  Pretty cool little wrinkle thrown in with the sticker books too.

1989 Topps Sticker Backs Don Mattingly

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