Thursday, January 6, 2011

"Donnie Baseball", my hero!

-2,153 career hits
-222 career Home runs
-1,099 career RBI's
-.307 lifetime batting average
-9 Gold gloves
-6 All Star games
-1985 AL MVP
-1984 AL batting title winner
-3 Silver Slugger awards
-My baseball hero!

The National Baseball Writers Association is responsible for electing members to the Baseball Hall of Fame every year at this time.  They have chosen to enshrine Roberto Alomar (90% of votes) and Bert Blyleven (79% of votes) in the class of 2011.  Both of these men are worthy of the Hall and I am glad that they have both gotten in.  It takes 75% of the over 500 votes to be placed in the Baseball Hall of Fame.  Don Mattingly, the current manager of the LA Dodgers received 13.6% of the vote total.  To me that is very disappointing!

Growing up in the 80's as a kid who loved everything baseball, there was no bigger player in my eyes than "Donnie Baseball", Don Mattingly.  He had the absolute smoothest swing that you ever saw and was not afraid to get a little dirt on his uniform.  I thought he was the coolest thing in the world at the time and I made sure that I watched him every Saturday as NBC would always carry the Yankees on their Saturday game of the week.  Mattingly was destined for the Hall of Fame.  He was a great hitter who hit for a high average and also had a little pop.  He won a batting title, an MVP, 9 Gold Gloves, and set some impressive records along the way like hitting a home run in 8 straight games and hitting 6 Grand Slams in one season.  But, Donnie Baseball was unfortunate in the fact that he played his career for the Yankees when the Yankees were not very good.  He never had an oportunity to add a World Series ring to his resume, which can sometimes bolster a few more votes for the hall.  His career was also cut short due to a bad back.  Although he still managed to carry a .290 batting average over the last 5 years of his career, he lost most of his power and was not able to go everyday.  A Hall of Fame start of a career was derailed by injury.  That Stinks!!  I still consider him to be one of the best that I ever saw play the game and I still get a little sad when I think about what might have been if it wasn't for his back troubles.  If he never gets in the Baseball Hal of Fame, he will still be in mine!

I can not write a post like this one and not mention another great player from the 80's that played for my team, the Atlanta Braves!  Dale Murphy received 12.6% of the votes tallied this year for the Hall.  Murph is a two time NL MVP and one of the premier power hitters of the 80's.  Like Mattingly, he played on some pretty bad Braves teams, but finds himself in some pretty elite company.  In the 1980's, only Mike Schmidt had more home runs, and Eddie Murry had more RBI's that Dale Murphy.  Schmidt and Murry are currently in the Hall of Fame.  Murphy finished his career with 398 home runs, but his last five years were not kind to him in the batting average department.  Hitting only .238 in his last five years as compared to .289 in the five previous really hurt his Hall chances in my opinion.  Dale Murphy is an all around great person who wouldn't know a steroid if it looked him in the face.  If the Hall of Fame had a wing for good guys, Dale Murphy would have the first bust.  I hope he has a chance to make it one day because for a lot of fans in South Georgia who watched him hit those home runs to right field and carry a terrible Braves team on his back, he is definitly a Hall of Fame player.

I had both of these posters as a kid and they bring back a lot of great memories.  I wonder if kids today still worship players like we did and hang their posters on the wall or wear their jerseys or collect their baseball cards.  Things seemed to be different back then and ball players seemed to be more real.  They were worthy of being heros.  I hope that my son will love the game and love his heros.  He already enjoys watching the Braves and we have started a baseball card collection.  He likes looking at them but I have to admit that the collection is probably more for me right now.  It makes me feel like a kid again and helps me to remember what it was like to have heros!!

Good luck to "Donnie Baseball" and Dale Murphy!  You are both Hall of Fame in my book!!


Dennis said...

Just had to squeeez in a little about the South in a "Yankee" post eh kid? LOL

Hey my blog has moved, replace fishing with adventure domain wise, that's code, I didn't want to spam your comment section with an actual link.

Hope you and the family had a great holiday and Happy New Year from fort Dad :)

Dennis said...

that should be adventures...been one of them days ;)

The Downeast Duck Hunter said...

When I was a kid, we had basic cable and the only two stations that had major league baseball were WGN (Cubs) and TBS (Braves). I grew up loving Dale Murphy and still use the Rawlings glove with his insignia when I play catch with my oldest. Cool post, thanks for fostering a few good memories.

Alex said...

Great post! I have been thinking exactly what you wrote about the Murph. Still to this day my all time favorite player!

CHERI said...

Great still need heros but sadly many prof. athletes don't lead the lives that we would want our children and grandchildren to emulate.

Steve said...

After coaching high school baseball for over 27 years, I think baseball is in my veins. Dale and Donnie both belong in the Hall, even though Donnie is coaching the blasted Dodgers. As much as you love the Braves, I am a Giants fan. Except for that Barry guy.

Steve in Central CA

PS As a family we had a chance to see a Braves game in the fall of '09 after one of our sons graduation from Basic Training at Fort Benning. What a beautiful park. It rained all the way from Columbus to Atlanta and I figured the game would be cancelled. Us mid-California desert boys aren't used to the Georgia rain. The game was played and the Braves beat the Phillies. FYI Bobby Cox is from our part of CA and we play his high school team in our league.