Don Mattingly played first base for the New York Yankees for 14 seasons (1982-1995). He went to six All-star games, won an American League MVP Award in 1985, won nine Gold Gloves and three Silver Sluggers and a batting title in 1984.
He had his No. 23 retired as recognition for his great career with the Yankees, but he still failed to accomplish one thing. He played for an organization that has won 28 World Series championships, but Mattingly didn’t win a single one.
The Yankees won a World Series in 1996, the year after he retired, but in the 14 years that he played, they failed to make the postseason in every year but 1995 — when they lost in the AL Division Series to the Seattle Mariners.
No manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Mattingly faces expectations that are seemingly just as high as time as a player in New York. While Mattingly has made the postseason the last three season in a row, they have yet to appear in a World Series.
According to Ian O’Connor of ESPN, the pressure to has at times been tough for Mattingly:
It wears on me a little bit,” he told ESPN.com. “After a while you get tired of it, honestly. But you always get back to what you’re trying to accomplish, and you talk to pure baseball people who understand how hard this is. The postseason is such a crapshoot, it really is. You don’t know who’s going to get hot. DeGrom comes out on Thursday and just punches out . Stuff happens. It’s so hard to get that ring, and I will say that the [criticism] does wear on you. But I still love doing this. I love the competition. I love the grind and the battle of it.”
The Dodgers are currently tied 2-2 with the New York Mets in the Nation League DS heading into a decisive Game 5 on Thursday night at Dodger Stadium.
While winning three consecutive NL West championships for the first time in Los Angeles franchise history is impressive, the World Series expectations may mean the end of Mattingly’s tenure in Los Angeles if the Dodgers lose Thursday, resulting in being bounced from the postseason in the first round for two consecutive years.