DON MATTINGLY MEMORIES
I have wanted to create a place for Mattingly Fans to talk about their favorite memories of Don Mattingly. Whether it was from just watching him play, or actually meeting him, everyone has a favorite memory of the hitman!
If you have a Mattingly memory and would like to share it, I encourage you to do so, all you have to do is send me an email by clicking on the mailbox in the menu to your left.
I look forward to reading your memories!
When I Met Don Mattingly (February 6, 1993)
Being a Don Mattingly fan ever since
he first came up in 1982, I have followed his career more intently than
any other player before or since. Having gone to many games at Yankee Stadium,
I have had the pleasure of watching Don play gracefully at first base many
times. I have also come close to personally meeting him as he entered and
exited the Stadium, but I was never one of the lucky ones to actually get
his autograph. I had always dreamed of that happening, but I resigned myself
to the fact that it would never happen. Then one day I found out about
this thing the Yankees were sponsoring, "The New York Yankees Fan
Festival." The year was 1993 and it was the third year of this fan
gathering, but the first year that I heard of it. The prospect of meeting
Donnie prompted me and my friend to purchase tickets. The festival is held
every February on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We randomly picked Saturday
to go and we prayed for months that Donnie would appear on the same day
we were going.
The day finally arrived and I drove the hour and
a half from Connecticut to the "Jacob Javits Center" in Manhattan,
praying every second of the way that Don would be there. When we finally
arrived it was still another 2 hours before the doors opened and there
were rumors swirling that Don was inside and was part of the first group
of Yankees that would be signing...my heart raced every minute until the
doors opened and I rushed inside. I quickly bought a baseball and nearly
died when I saw the sign for Don Mattingly's line. I raced into it and
was thrilled to finally get my chance. I patiently waited in the line for
almost an hour until it was my turn to meet the ballplayer I idolized!
When my time finally arrived I had goosebumps. I took two quick photos
of Don sitting in the booth and then I approached him. As I handed him
the baseball to sign I was so excited! Here I was right next to my idol.
We talked for a moment as he signed the ball and then, after he handed
the baseball back, I shook his hand and wished him luck with the upcoming
season! It was perhaps the most thrilling event that happend to me that
season, challenged only by Jim Abbott's no-hitter which I had the pleasure
of being at!
I will never forget the day I met the Hitman! It will always remain
deeply embedded in my mind. I have the ball proudly displayed on top of
my television for everyone to see!
I have been back to the Fan Festival every year since, but I have never
again been there at the same time as Donnie. Perhaps he will show up again,
perhaps not...but until then, I'll always have my memories!
Joseph Riccitelli, Jr.
My Donnie Baseball Memory (Scott)
Joe, I to have a passion for Yankee Baseball! I lost some of that passion
the day I found out that Don Mattingly wasn't coming back. When I was
growing up in late 70's and 80's I was the biggest Greg Nettles fan, I even
wore #9 and played third base when I played little league ball. When Nettles
and Goose Gossage left the Bronx for San Diego there was a void in me. It was
the first time I that I started to understand what free agency meant. Then
in 1984, I became the Don Mattingly fan that I am today. Here was this guy
who played with the passsion that I missed when Nettles left. I still
remember wishing that he got his hits whether it was going 2 for 3 or 3 for 4.
As long as Donnie got his hits everyting was going to be OK.
I don't think there will be another player that brought the sense of electricity to the
plate the way Donnie did. I went to game two against Seattle in the 1995
Wild Card series. We sat in with the "BLEACHER CREATURES," and it was by far
the most exciting game I ever went to (and I have been to alot of important
games!) I told my wife that if Donnie hits one out the building will leave
the foundation. Sure enough, Donnie smacked one out. Here I was with 56,000
people going absolutely crazy chanting 'DONNIE BASEBALL' for what seemed like
an eternity. I really thought that it was going to be the year that Donnie
got his ring. The yanks went up 2-0 going in to Seattle. And then they got
swept 3 games to lose the series and that was the end of Donnie Baseball.
The day I found that they were going to retire his #23 I knew that I had to get
tickets. My friends and I got to the stadium early it was absolutely crazy.
We actually saw Donnie's limo pull up to the stadium and saw him get out with
his wife and kids. Here I am, 26 years old, and I literally got choked up
and shed some tears when he was giving his speach. I now understand the my
way father and my uncles felt about players like The Mick and Joe D. When
I have kids I'll have Mattingly to talk about the same way my dad talked
about the Mick. One thing I am greatful for is that Donnie didn't play for
another team. I don't think I could of handled seeing him play for another
uniform. I was really glad to have him back in spring training as a coach (Spring 2000).
"DONNIE BASEBALL" is back!!!
This Page Was Designed By Joseph Riccitelli, Jr. on October 2, 1997.
I Last Made Changes On: Fri December 11, 2003.
Copyright 1997-2003, Joseph Riccitelli, Jr.