Monday, March 18, 2013

Don Mattingly is Ambidextrous

Donald Arthur Mattingly (Donnie Baseball)

Born: April 20, 1961, in Evansville, Indiana

MLB Team: New York Yankees
Manager: Dodgers

Positions: First Baseman and Outfielder
Height/Weight: 6'0", 175 lb.
Bats: Left
Throws: Both, Left-hand dominant
played pro baseball left-handed

When Don Mattingly was playing youth baseball, he could throw with either arm. A natural left-hander, he played third base in American Legion ball when he was 15 years old and claims that he was good. Mattingly became an All-Star first baseman for the New York Yankees.

One of Mattingly's considerable natural athletic talents was his ambidexterity. Back in Little League, he switch-pitched on occasion, going three innings righthanded and three innings lefthanded. And in Legion ball, Sexton had Mattingly—who then as now threw and hit lefthanded—play second base in the conventional righthanded manner. 
(SI Vault)

"Drafted in the 19th round by the Yankees in 1979, the ambidextrous Mattingly told his biographer, Mike Shalin, that one of his first managers in the minors was keen on moving him to second base because of concerns about his hitting.

In 14 seasons, all with the Yankees, Mattingly earned six All-Star selections, the 1984 American League batting title and the 1985 A.L. Most Valuable Player award. He played his last game in 1995 and retired with a .307 career average." (NY Times)

Who's on Third? It may be Mattingly
The Telegraph - Aug 30, 1986

Who's on Third?

No matter that he's left-handed, it could be Don Mattingly, an All-Star first baseman, playing third base for the New York Yankees in Saturday night's doubleheader against the Seattle Mariners.

Mike Pagliarulo, the regular third baseman, has been hampered by a hamstring pull and it's questionable whether he'll be ready.

"If Pags can't play Saturday," Yankees Manager Lou Piniella said after Thursday night's 4-2 victory over Seattle, "Mattingly's going to play third base."

Left-handed throwing third basemen are a rarity in the major leagues. Mike Squires, who played 13 games for the Chicago White Sox in 1984, was the last lefty to play third.

Mattingly, who learned of Piniella's plan before Thursday night's game, took some infield practice at shortstop.

Mattingly, a .338 hitter this season and last year's most valuable player in the American League, seemed to like the idea of the switch.

Although he's ambidextrous, Mattingly said he wouldn't attempt to throw right-handed and would borrow a fielder's mitt.

"I can still throw right-handed," he said, "but I don't know where it's going anymore."

The last time Mattingly played third baseman was in American Legion ball in his hometown of Evansville, Ind.

Read More

Don Mattingly Bio - SABR

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