In the midst of this Marlins rebuild, manager Don Mattingly is among the most recognizable members of the team. That iconic mustache of his circled the drain years ago, but fans of the Yankees and Major League Baseball in general still respect his sweet left-handed swing and superb defense at first base.
But Mattingly’s playing career as a whole hasn’t been able to earn him true baseball immortality: a plaque in Cooperstown. The latest rejection came Sunday night at the MLB Winter Meetings, when the 16-person Modern Baseball Era Committee considered a ballot of 10 candidates. Twelve votes—75% support—was required for induction.
Catcher Ted Simmons (13) and trailblazing players’ union director Marvin Miller (12) each cleared the threshold; Mattingly didn’t even come close, receiving fewer than four votes, according to Jay Jaffe of FanGraphs.
During his 14 major league seasons, Mattingly slashed .307/.358/.471 (124 wRC+) with 222 home runs, 1,099 runs batted in and 1,785 games played. FanGraphs approximates his value at 40.7 Wins Above Replacement. He received the AL MVP in 1985, then finished runner-up the following year despite actually improving his performance across the board. Sporting News named “Donnie Baseball” one of the top 10 players of the 1980s.
Unfortunately, as detailed by Jay Jaffe, a back injury sapped Mattingly’s productivity. Despite the brilliance of his prime, the career totals do not come close to being Cooperstown caliber.
Mattingly was largely overlooked during his years on the writers’ HOF ballot, too. He first became eligible for the class of 2001 and remained on the ballot until 2015, though he never surpassed 28.2% support.
In September, the Marlins signed Mattingly to a two-year extension through the 2021 season. It ensures he’ll be the longest-tenured manager in franchise history. He owns a 276-370 (.427 winning percentage) since being hired by Jeffrey Loria four years ago.