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24 Apr

Don Mattingly: Major League Baseball’s “The Hit Man”

Posted by hy nguyen

The words “hit man” may connote differently depending on context. While the first impression for the terminology may imply something sinister, the term can also mean something positive.

As the baseball is not a place for gun wielders but of bats and gloves, the term “hit man” in this sense would imply something of a sportsman who knows how to throw a ball towards a batter or one who does the actual hitting of the ball itself.


For one who was given the nickname “The Hit Man” in relation to his chosen sport—baseball—those who know Don Mattingly would know what is referred to with the name—a baseball player who really knows how to swing his bat for a score and throw a ball for his opponent not to hit.

Known ambidextrous, Mattingly is good at throwing left and right. This easily puts him in an advantage where, when you think he knew how he throws on one hand, you would be surprised to see a switch on another as a hitter.

But even before Don entered the Major League, “Donnie Baseball,” another nickname to himself, was previously an amateur in the 1970’s.  

He eventually began a professional career in the Minor League in 1979 with the Oneonta Yankees. As a rookie in the Minor League, despite his good hitting ability, there were concerns about Mattingly’s speed and power, both factors of which critical in improving his hits.

Three years thereafter, in 1982, Don advanced his career in the Major League as a player for the New York Yankees.


(Given some popularity given to Don Mattingly back in the heyday of his career, did you know that there had been a caricature for him which appeared on The Simpson’s wearing a custom-made baseball jersey? See his jersey here at Boriz Jersey!)

Although the nickname “The Hit Man” may give the impression of Mattingly being an offensive player in the field, his 1985 performance showed his ability for defensive play which, to his credit, placed him at the 2nd and 3rd base during defensive plays.

Throughout his 14 years in the MLB, Mattingly had been in a single team—the New Yok Yankees—and which ended in 1985.

Returning to the sport he loved after 9 years since his retirement, Don pursued a career in coaching for his previous club, a stint which lasted him three years.

Extending his career on another team, Mattingly became a coach and consequently, its manager, for the Los Angeles Dodgers starting 2008 until 2015.

To date, Don Mattingly is spending his time as yet a manager, but this time, for the Miami Marlins.


(Interested in getting the same jersey as Mattingly was displayed with during an episode in The Simpsons’? Get one for your size here at Boriz Jersey!)

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