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19 hours ago, Kibbee Nayee said:

I don't see his career collapsing, except if a Don Mattingly-like injury were to derail him.

From 1983 through 1987, Don Mattingly was Mike Trout. He was other-wordly, the best player in baseball, and an MVP in 1985 (runner up in 1986, even though he had a 7.2 WAR). He was clearly on his way to the Hall of Fame.

In 1987, he reportedly hurt his back horsing around with Bob Shirley in the locker room, and he was never the same after that. The second half of his career was above average, but he never returned to perennial MVP status like the first half of his career. He will be remembered as the greatest Yankee never to have appeared in the World Series.

I am not suggesting that such a fate will befall Mike Trout, and I certainly hope that he continues to cement his status as the greatest player in today's game.

People don't remember how great Don Mattingly was for awhile - I was actually going to make an investment, and buy about 50 of his rookie cards (I am glad I didn't make that mistake, since the baseball card market completely collapsed).

Without looking at any statistics, I have a vague recollection of him having a ton of RBIs, and I remember a good friend of mine commenting on how he always led the league in doubles, too.

What happened to him? I guess I could read his Wikipedia entry, but he seemed like a sure-fire Hall of Fame player, and then ... fizzle.

I did see that he had *six* Grand Slams in one season (1987), and took note that Willie Randolph was on first base every single time.

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ETA - I couldn't help but see some statistics as I was tagging this post, and he has a .307 career batting average - why isn't he in the Hall? I see that the Yankees won the World Series the year before his rookie season, and the year after he retired, but never during his career - is this why?

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17 hours ago, DonRocks said:

ETA - I couldn't help but see some statistics as I was tagging this post, and he has a .307 career batting average - why isn't he in the Hall? I see that the Yankees won the World Series the year before his rookie season, and the year after he retired, but never during his career - is this why?

I think it's mostly that he went from being Lou Gehrig during the first half of his career, to being Will Clark or John Olerud during the second half of his career.

[One of the things that really irked me about the Mattingly era was his second-place finish to Roger Clemens in the MVP race in 1986. Mattingly batted .352 with 238 hits, 53 doubles, and 31 HRs that year. Clemens had a good year, going 24-4 with a 2.48 ERA and 238 Ks, but he pitched in 33 games. Mattingly played all 162 games for the Yankees, or 5 times as many as Clemens played for the Red Sox. What bothered me about 1986 was 1978, when Ron Guidry went 25-3 with a 1.74 ERA and 248 Ks, but finished 2nd in the MVP to Jim Rice because of the argument that a position player is more valuable than a pitcher. In other words, the reason Guidry didn't win the MVP in 1978 was the same reason Clemens shouldn't have won the award in 1986.]

But this came from a thread about Mike Trout. Baseball Reference lists the most similar batters through age 24 to Mike Trout would be Mickey Mantle, Ken Griffey Jr., Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, and Mel Ott. Pretty good company....

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Agree w/ @Kibbee Nayee.  During his short peak Mattingly could have been the best position player in the game. A case can be made.  He was Gehrigish as a run producer and good on dee.  He picked up the mantle as the top 1st baseman following Eddie Murrays best years.  

If you wanted to see all time first basemen during the early to mid 80's nothing better than going to Bird/Yankee games those years

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1 hour ago, Kibbee Nayee said:

I think it's mostly that he went from being Lou Gehrig during the first half of his career, to being Will Clark or John Olerud during the second half of his career.

How is this not Hall of Fame level? Clark and Olerud were among the best players in the game (top 10%).

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