It should have come at Yankee Stadium, a ringing double to the right-center field gap. In better times, it might have been a game-winning homer or a drive to the base of the wall. Instead, the 2,000th hit of Don Mattingly's career came July 23 at Anaheim Stadium, long after most Yankee fans back East had gone to sleep. Mattingly's milestone hit came in the seventh inning against Angels pitcher Russ Springer, a multiple hopper that bounced past the pitcher's mound, over second base and on into center field. But, after it was over, the Yankee captain made it all but clear, as he had earlier in the week, that there would be no No. 3,000. "I'd like to shoot for 3,000 but, very honestly, I don't think I'm going to make it," he said. "I don't think I'm going to play that long. It seems like I have to battle more and more just to be average, to tell you the truth. And that's tough to do. "It hasn't been as enjoyable for me, playing, because I've had to do more and more work off the field to stay healthy and just be average. It's reality. "I don't feel bad about it because that's the way it is. And I really don't want to complain about it or talk about it too much because I really don't think people want to hear it. I'm still playing major league baseball and there's nothing wrong with that. I'm having a good time, but in terms of 3,000 I don't think I'm going to make it." That hit made the Yankees first baseman the 197th player in baseball history to reach 2,000 hits and the sixth to get those hits as a Yankee. The others - Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra and Mickey Mantle - are all in the Hall of Fame. "That's some pretty good company," Mattingly said. "I shouldn't say `pretty good,' it's real good." Mattingly's 2,000th hit ended a week in which the first baseman lost his coveted No. 3 spot in the Yankees batting order. With Mattingly bothered by a sore right wrist that had put him on the disabled list just before the All-Star break, Showalter moved Mattingly out and put Paul O'Neill in. At the time, O'Neill was leading the league in hitting. "If I was the manager I would have done it sooner, maybe a month ago," said Mattingly. "It doesn't bother me. I think it's the right thing. It would be difficult for me to take if it wasn't the best thing for the ballclub." When he batted fifth July 20 in Oakland, it marked the first time Mattingly started a game at anywhere but the third spot in the Yankee order since Aug. 11, 1992.
Mattingly quietly hits milestone., BASEBALL WEEKLY, 07-27-1994, pp 11.