Yankees Name Mattingly Batting Coach

Donnie Baseball is returning to a dugout near you for the 2004 season. The Yankees announced the hiring of former superstar Don Mattingly as their bench coach for the upcoming season. Mattingly will replace Rick Down in the position and become the fourth batting coach for the Yanks in four years.

Mattingly, the last Yankee to be named captain before Derek Jeter this season, will bring a lot of experience and intangibles to the Yankees bench for 2004. Mattingly is an accomplished hitter with an MVP award and batting title to his credit, as well a career .307 batting average. With any luck, he will be successful in mentoring some of the young Yankee hitters and helping them improve their performance.

Furthermore, Mattingly is practically a legend in Yankees history, having been one of the few bright spots on the team during one of their least successful periods. Mattingly was a fan-favorite from 1982-1995, earning his nickname of "Donnie Baseball". His presence alone will add a better feeling to the bench and for the fans.

Since his retirement after the 1995 season, Mattingly has worked with the Yankees in several front-office capacities, as well as being a special hitting instructor during spring training.

Mattingly won the AL MVP award in 1985 by posting a .324 batting average with career-highs of 35 homeruns and 145 RBI. He beat out teammate Dave Winfield in 1984 to win the batting title with a mark of .343. He is a six-time All Star and nine-time Gold Glove winner. The early years were the best for Mattingly in a career that was hampered by back injuries that even caused him to change his batting style later on.

One of the sore spots for Yankee fans was that Mattingly never had the opportunity to play in a World Series. But he did post a .417 batting average in his only postseason series, the 1995 ALDS against Seattle.

Mattingly is fifth on the all-time Yankees hit list, eighth on the homerun list and was passed by Bernie Williams this season for eighth on the RBI list. His single-season marks of 238 hits and 53 doubles are still the Yankee records.

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