It was Leo “The Lip” Durocher (below) who coined the phrase “nice guys finish last”. While it’s hard to imagine him as a role model for anyone in the game of baseball today, Don Mattingly (below) definitely fills the definition of a nice guy. And in a way, he has finished last as the Manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Whether he resigned or was forced out is really a moot point. What matters is that he might be one of those people who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
But in order to fully understand what happened in LA, we need to take a look back at his time with the New York Yankees. Don Mattingly was a workmanlike “carry your lunch pail” first baseman. He was quiet, often mysterious. He never (as they say) put himself out there. He was also a self made major league hitter who assembled numbers that arguably make him a outside candidate for the Hall of Fame. Much like Derek Jeter, he led by example and not with words.
Therefore, the question then becomes – was he ever truly managerial material? Fans and media in New York wanted desperately for him to take Joe Torre’s place at the end of “the run” by the Yankees. But the Yankees went in a different direction and hired Joe Girardi. Left unsaid were the reasons why Mattingly did not get the job. However, everyone knew the reasons why – the job was ill suited for his talents.
Add to that the dysfunctional ownership situation in LA during the beginning of his tenure there plus the influx of dysfunctional players to deal with (read Puig)……and then the final blow of the new owners choice to collect and fill their “book of stamps” resulting in a $300 million payroll……..and well……you get the picture.
There is (or should be) a place in baseball for someone like Don Mattingly. He would be welcomed back in New York by Brian Cashman in a heartbeat. Joe Girardi’s ego could accommodate him as a bench coach and he could also have an impact as a role model for younger players like Greg Bird and Didi Gregorious. In sum, Don Mattingly needs to come home…….
Posted in 2015 Playoffs, 3000 hits, Baseball, Baseball Blogs, Derek Jeter, Dysfunctional, joe girardi, Joe Torre, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, Ownership, Resignation
Tagged 2015 Playoffs, baseball, Baseball Blogs, Big payroll, derek Jeter, Don Mattingly, hall of fame, Joe girardi, Joe Torre, los Angeles Dodgers, Manager, New York Yankees, Ownership, Resignation
It’s hard to recall a time in recent baseball history when so many young and very talented players burst on the scene carrying promise of not only a great future for themselves but for baseball as well.
This bumper crop is evenly composed of both position players and pitchers. They are spread evenly across leagues and teams. In the NFL, they would all be tagged as “Franchise Players”. Mike Trout (right) and Bryce Harper (upper left) look like reincarnations of Mickey Mantle while Felix Hernandez (right) and Jose Fernandez (left) recall memories of Juan Marichal and Pedro Martinez years before they entered the Baseball Hall Of Fame.
Add to that quartet relative newcomers like Dallas Keutchel (lower left) of young and forward marching Houston Astros plus Giancarlo Stanton (right) and you have the makings of some very exciting baseball for many years to come.
But hold on there……..not so fast. Before we anoint them into the Baseball Hall Of Fame, we need to remember – the Hall is based solely on number (historically)……300 wins, 500 home runs, 3000 hits……..etc.
And with these young exciting players, there are two caveats to recognize and they’re both reasons why we might only see one or two actually make the Hall Of Fame.
The first caveat is simple mathematics. Each player is destined to make a minimum of a quarter of a billion dollars over their career. Some will earn even more. So, the question becomes how long will they need or want to play before they retire and move on to other things? Will the fire continue to burn for twenty years as it did for someone like Derek Jeter (remember – it takes 15 years at 200 hits per to reach 3000 – and for pitchers averaging 15 wins over 15 seasons only nets 275 career wins). So, it’s a long road ahead for these perennial All Stars.
The second caveat is even more looming. Because we need to add to each the “if he stays healthy” clause to each of their careers. Look at the list…….how many have been afflicted with injuries even to this point in their brief time on the field. Will a perennially injured All Star like Troy Tulowiski have the numbers to qualify for the Hall? Coupled with that are the ever conscious owners and GM’ who seek to protect their investments by holding them back (the Mets and Matt Harvey?) until a bevy of doctors say “Go!………
So, it’ll be interesting to see what happens with these young phenoms as their careers play out. Will they have the stamina and desire to play long enough to put up the numbers the Hall has traditionally required……..
Posted in 3000 hits, Baseball, Baseball Blogs, baseball history, baseball's young talent, Felix Hernandez, Giancarlo Stanton, Hall of Fame, Jose Fernandez, Mike Trout
Tagged baseball young talent, Bryce Harper, career earnings, Felix Hernandez, Giancarlo Stanton, hall of fame credentials, jose fernandez, Mike Trout, numbers
There have been 18,000 Major League ballplayers. Only twenty-nine have had 3,000 or more hits. That’s really all you need to know about Alex Rodriguez reaching that level of play last night with a home run off a 95mph fastball from Justin Verlander. Everything else is irrelevant or charged with politics.
Consider this……..To reach 3000 hits, a player needs to average 200 hits over fifteen years. Most players don’t even have a career lasting that long. When Rodriguez retires, he will do so as the only player in baseball history with 600 home runs, 2000 RBI, and 3000 hits.
He did what he did and if you had a private moment with him over a beer he probably might say he would have done some things differently. But who among us could not say the same thing about our own lives.
There are two things about Alex Rodriguez that tell me a lot……..One……he is loved and respected by his peers in the clubhouse. And second, he loves to play baseball and goes full bore every game. That’s his usually stoic manager Joe Girardi in the above photo after A-Rod’s 600th home run……..you can tell…..you see a bond and level of respect there. And that’s what really matters.
Posted in 3000 hits, A-Rod, Baseball, Baseball Blogs, baseball history, New York Yankees
Tagged 3000 hits, Alex Rodriguez, Baseball Blogs, baseball history, baseball records, New York Yankees