NEW YORK - New York Yankees captain Don Mattingly is threatening to retire rather than submit to management's insistence on sweeping changes in player compensation. "I'd rather not play another game than give up everything everybody fought for," say Mattingly. "I'll stay home in Indiana for the rest of my life." Mattingly, 33, is upset because he believes owners, with their demand for a salary cap and approach to negotiations, will force baseball's eighth work stoppage in 22 years. Players are set to strike at the end of today's games. "You hear chants of `No strike, no strike,' " says Mattingly. "From our point of view, it's `no choice, no choice.' We give in to what they want to do or we have no choice (but to strike)." Mattingly hoped this season would culminate a potential Hall of Fame career. He owns a batting title, a Most Valuable Player award and eight Gold Gloves. But he has never played in a World Series. The Yankees are well on their way to their first American League East title since another strike year, 1981. And yet Mattingly knows it might all go for naught. "If that's my fate, so be it. If it means I don't go to postseason, I don't go to postseason," he says. "Is it tragic? I don't know. I've still had a great time with other things." Mattingly understands the goal that has driven him since he broke in in 1983 - reaching the World Series - might be taken away for reasons that have nothing to do with on-field performance. "I've come to understand how tough it is to have a chance at it," Mattingly says, "and we have a chance." But what worries him more is the consequences of an extended strike. "It bothers me not only for myself and my teammates but baseball as a whole," he says. And he believes the potential loss of this year's postseason could be devastating. The World Series has been played every year since 1905. "If that happened, it would be a lot different from any other stoppages," he says. "It would be monumental." And he would understand the fans' disillusionment with the game. "As a fan, if I was going to follow something three-quarters of the year and there were no playoffs, I don't know if I'd ever come back. I really don't," he says. Mattingly says he believes the majority of fans, even if they can not relate to today's salaries, understand the players' point of view. He also knows there are others who can not begin to grasp complex issues such as salary cap, arbitration, and freedom of movement. "I don't want to look into an 8-year-old's eyes. He doesn't understand," Mattingly says. "It's totally unfair."
Pedulla, Tom, Mattingly threatens to quit // Owners' salary cap demand has Yankees captain fed up., USA TODAY, 08-11-1994, pp 03.