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"Donnie Baseball" Book Review

This book is truly for those who love Don Mattingly. He was an integral part of being a Yankee fan in the 1980's and early 90's. Even though the team struggled, we always enjoyed watching Donnie. He's one of only 14 men in baseball history to be called Captain of the Yankees. He epitomized hard work and class in just the same way as most of the others before him did.

If you're an undying fan of Donnie Baseball, then this book will be up your alley. There is nary a bad word said about him in all 199 pages.

I wish the "definitive biography" of Mattingly was more biographical though. Much of his childhood and adolescent years, as well as his private life, are skimmed over in favor of talking about his life as a professional ballplayer. Don't most readers already know much of that? I went in hoping to learn more about Donnie the person, but was disappointed. The vast majority of sources, quotes, and the like, come from other baseball people: players, managers, executives, and such.

There's also too many of said quotes - it felt like nearly half the content - when it would've behooved the book to have more... substance. I found myself skimming over many of the quotes, thinking "Yeah, yeah. Another, 'Mattingly is a nice, quiet, professional player and even better person'. How many ways can you say that?"

The story concludes with an optimistic view that he would take the Dodgers to success as their new manager. While that hasn't happened yet (largely due to problems outside of his control), author Mike Shalin is very confident that Mattingly's managerial style will lead to future success in Los Angeles, despite never having been a manager at any pro level. As to that prediction, I honestly can't say, because I think it has a lot more to do with the roster than the manager.

Anyway, I'll leave you with this.