Mattingly Talks Of One More Season (USA Today 7/26/94)


     NEW YORK - Don Mattingly, discouraged by injuries that have
  robbed him of the brilliance he once displayed, says he will
  seriously consider retiring when his New York Yankees contract
  expires after the 1995 season.
     "I will have to make a decision on whether I'm willing to keep
  going," says Mattingly, 33. "I think it's going to be a hard
  decision."
     Mattingly has not lost his enthusiasm for the game or his zest
  for competition. But chronic back problems and persistent
  tendinitis in his right wrist require extensive and tiresome
  preparation merely for the six-time All-Star to step on the field.
     "Mentally, I'm going to have to be willing to keep going and
  working," Mattingly says. "For me to keep playing, there's a lot of
  work I have to do off the field."
     The Yankees' captain takes a .300 average with six home runs and
  47 RBI into the start of a three-game series with archrival Boston
  tonight at Yankee Stadium.
     There is still lots of life in Mattingly's bat. His three-run
  home run with one out in the ninth inning rallied the Yankees to a
  6-4 victory against California Sunday. It was his first career
  pinch-hit homer and provided the most memorable blow of a
  tremendous 10-1 West Coast trip that enabled the American League
  East leaders to open a 5 1/2-game advantage on Baltimore.
     Saturday, Mattingly banged out his 2,000th career hit to join
  Hall of Famers Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Lou Gehrig
  and Yogi Berra as the only Yankees to reach that milestone.
     Still, Mattingly is increasingly frustrated by his inability to
  meet the lofty standards he once achieved regularly. "I realize as
  I've gotten older I can't do things I used to do," he said, "and I
  will probably never do them again."
     Mattingly is not even entertaining the notion that he would play
  long enough to reach 3,000 hits. "Too far, too far," he says. "I'd
  like to be able to get there, but I'm not going to get there."
     Those close to Mattingly would not be surprised if he walked
  away after 1995.
     "I don't see him playing a lot longer," says former teammate and
  current Yankees third-base coach Willie Randolph. "Great players
  get used to a certain standard and, even though they're very
  capable, they still feel they should be doing more. I think there
  will come a time soon when he feels he doesn't want to just be
  good."
     Manager Buck Showalter is not sure what Mattingly will choose.
  "I don't think he really knows. I don't think he's made up his
  mind," he says. "I think it will depend on his wife and his family
  and what level he can play at."
     Says Mattingly, "I don't want to be totally ordinary."
     That would be unacceptable to someone who, in the mid-1980s, was
  regarded as the game's premier player.
     In 1984, he gave the Yankees their first batting champion since
  Mantle (1956) by batting .343 and outdueling then-teammate Dave
  Winfield on the final day of the season. The next year he drove in
  145 runs - most by a Yankee since DiMaggio's 155 in 1948 - and
  gained the American League's Most Valuable Player award. He smashed
  franchise records with 238 hits and 53 doubles in 1986.
     But Mattingly, after batting .300 for six consecutive seasons
  from 1984-89, has not maintained that level since. Inoperable back
  problems have robbed him of much of his power and he last produced
  20 homers in a season in 1989.
     Now, a wrist problem that surgery last November did not relieve
  is making it even more difficult for the eight-time Gold Glove
  winner to perform.
     Mattingly emphasized that he will fulfill his current five-year,
  $19.3-million contract even if he reaches post-season play for the
  first time this season. The retirement decision, and all that it
  entails, can wait.
     "I don't want to look down the road now. I want to put my energy
  into this season and that's it," Mattingly says. "I'm just enjoying
  the ride we're on."

Mattingly's career stats
Year GP H HR RBI Avg. 1982 7 2 0 1 .167 1983 91 79 4 32 .283 1984 153 207 23 110 .343 1985 159 211 35 145 .324 1986 162 238 31 113 .352 1987 141 186 30 115 .327 1988 144 186 18 88 .311 1989 158 191 23 113 .303 1990 102 101 5 42 .256 1991 152 169 9 68 .288 1992 157 184 14 86 .288 1993 134 154 17 86 .291 1994 80 93 6 47 .300 Totals 1,640 2,001 215 1,046 .309

Copyright 1994, USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co., Inc.

Tom Pedulla, Mattingly talks of one more season., USA TODAY, 07-26-1994, pp 03.




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