The exhaustive research of sports biographer Mike Shalin sheds new light on a baseball legend, exposing the Hall of Famer's moxie and lifelong dedication to baseball in this engaging biography. The in-depth research follows Don Mattingly, an incredibly talented and hard-working player, who, during his time with the Yankees, became one of the most beloved and popular players in the glorious history of their franchise. An insightful review of Mattingly's career, including his going from a 19th-round draft choice to the 1985 American League MVP to his true motivation behind his retirement in 1995 and his thoughts on his young coaching. Donnie Baseball: The Definitive Biography of Don Mattingly is a must-read not only for passionate Yankee fans, but for all baseball enthusiasts who want to become better historians of the game.
By Parothd95 on Mar 07, 2011
Let me begin by saying I'm a life long Yankees fan and Mattingly is one of my favorites. But I found this book to be very disappointing. It can be summed up as Don Mattingly was a great baseball player but is an even better person. There was nothing in it that I already didn't know. I read mostly biographies and this one was sophomoric. It was mostly quotes from former teammates, coaches, and opposing players, but the sheer volume of quotes was over the top. Better editing would have served this book well. Some quotes were repeated word for word in later chapters and a few were even repeated on succeeding pages. This book could have been (and should have been) much, much shorter. It was basically an ESPN magazine article stretched out to 200 pages. Donnie deserves better.
Completely agree with previous review
By Robert In Nc on Mar 25, 2011
I too am a lifelong Yankees fan and Mattingly is one of my favorites. However, this book is little more than hero worship. I couldn't even finish this, as it was just a waste of time. Even the umpires liked him- seriously. This is 0 substance.
Not worth your time or your money.
By G. Haneke on Apr 04, 2011
Very superficial, once-over lightly book. Any reasonably well-informed Yankee fan could have written a better book than this. Don Mattingly was a great player and deserves a great biography. This book definitely does not qualify.
Neither a biography nor definitive
By Bdm on Sep 25, 2011
On the cover it says "the definitive biography of Don Mattingly." I would consider this book neither a biography nor definitive. Like another reviewer said, it was like a 200 page magazine article. The book has 8 chapters, all of which are pretty much just a bunch of quotes by other people strung together by a few words or sentences from the author. The 8 chapters are: 1) The Road to the Bronx: About 15 pages of quotes from high school coaches, scouts, and minor league teammates. Generic things like (these are not actually quotes from the book, I'm just summarizing) "Don was great in high school, you could tell he was going to be special." Or "Don quickly moved up from Double A" and "When Don got sent back to Triple A you knew he wasn't staying there for long." 2) Best in the Game: Just a bunch of quotes by other players, managers, and teammates about Mattingly's success from '84-'89. "Don was the best player in the game during that span," or "Don was just crushing the ball, truly unstoppable." (Do you see how I just string together my quotes above with "and" and "or". That's pretty much how the author wrote this book.) 3) Foundation of a Dynasty: About 12 pages of quotes from Jeter, Posada, Mariano Rivera, and Andy Pettitte about how much of an effect Donny had on them in '95. 4) Universal Respect: About 40 pages of quotes from other players and managers about how great a guy Don Mattingly is and how much they respect him. 5) End of an Era: About 30 pages of quotes from guys on that '95 team and how well Mattingly played during the final stretch of the season and how they all wanted to win it for him and about the Seattle playoff series. 6) Cooperstown Controversy: About 10 pages of quotes about why guys think he should be in the Hall of Fame, because of his 6 great years. 7) Back in Uniform: About 20 pages of quotes from players about how much they respected Matingly and how much he helped them as a hitting coach. 8) A Hollywood Ending?: Probably the most in-depth part of the book. About 30 pages of quotes by writers and players about how they either supported or disapproved of Mattingly being named the Dodgers manager with no prior managerial experience. But goes into how Torre brought along Mattingly in LA, how he wanted him to be his successor, etc. This chapter probably has the most meat of the whole book, which isn't saying much. I give it 2 stars because if you liked Don Mattingly, you'll appreciate all the nice things said about him, it's also an easy read, but there's just nothing of substance here. Nothing really personal or insightful. You get more insight from reading Mattingly's Wikipedia entry. Nothing about his back troubles or what caused them or what was going through Mattingly's mind. It's really just a bunch of quotes from other people saying things like: "Mattingly was great, if it wasn't for his back problems..." Or "You could tell Donny's back was really taking its toll on him in '95 and it would be impossible for him to come back for another season." That's all there is to say about his back problems? No talk about when they first occurred, the options he had to deal with them, etc. Also throughout the book there are several mentions of his wife Kim (but no talk of how they met, how long they dated, when they got married, etc). Then with 3 pages left in the book there's a line that says: "He married Lori Manion in December." What!? He got divorced? When did this happen? The book never gets into his personal life, never gets into his day-to-day life, there's really no story here, just 200 pages of quotes by other people and what they think of Don Mattingly. In no way, shape, or form would I consider this a biography.
A book too far!
By Norman Jones on Jul 30, 2011
Ouch! The reviews on this book are probably on target in as much they point out bad writing. I also noticed how many times things were repeated. Having published four books, I can testify that often authors strive to make a book longer and that is what happened in this book. The repeated material was at times too hard to take. The book did describe Mattingly as a nice person, but that was over done and I felt embarrassed for him. He deserves a better book about his career. Since both "Donnie Baseball" and I are from Indiana, I was fascinated to learn about his growing up years in Evansville, IN. I also think he should be in the hall of fame as he was a great player. All in all I enjoyed being filled in about his career, but the book seemed to be put together too fast and material not well organized and repeated to the dismay of the reader. Norman Jones, Ed.D. author of Growing Up in Indiana: The Culture & Hoosier Hysteria Revisited and Main St. vs. Wall St.:Wake-up Calls for America's Leaders.
Just plain terrible
By Old Man on Aug 28, 2011
This book is just plain terrible. Example: Page 130, Tino martinez says he knew what he was getting into (taking over for Mattingly); ewverybody loves him. Page 131: THE EXACT SAME QUOTE! This is not the first item repeated, but when it is a qouote rather than an observation, it is worth noting. The quote may have been broken at a different place and attributesd to another source, but it is an identical quote - it is even at the same spot on the page. It would have been wonderful if the author and the editor gave even 1/10th of the effort with which they credit Donnie baseball - other than the repitition part of the routine.
By Patrick1 on May 06, 2014
Decent read, but repetitive excerpts about how everyone loves Donnie which got old after a while. Overall not a bad read.
Definitely Not a Definitive Biography
By Hzu on Oct 16, 2013
To pen a biography of Don Mattingly without once mentioning the name of Bob Shirley earns said biography a 1-star rating. In June 1987, with the Yankees clinging to a division lead, Mattingly allegedly injured his back while playfully wrestling Shirley, a mediocre pitcher. Both denied the horseplay at the time but Shirley was released by the Yankees the day after the injury.
Great Ballplayer, terrible Writer.
By Webgriff on May 03, 2013
The author lacked depth in childhood development of Don M. and then rehashed over and over again his great career in the big leagues and his back problems. I personally believe that Don M. should be in the Hall of Fame but how many ways can you say it without losing you readers and turning them off. He should have compared more present members of the Hall of Fame with Numbers put up by "Donnie Baseball", my favorite NY Yankee along with Derek Jeter as both are quality players and gentlemen to boot.
For Don Mattingly fans only
By Franky Baseball on Jun 27, 2011
I was born and raised in Montreal where Gary Carter was my childhood hero and we rooted for the hometown Expos. I was also a big Yankee fan. In the mid-80s, I watched in awe as # 23 had 6 hall of fame seasons beofore his back troubles. I loved everything about Donnie Baseball. The way he carried himself, the quiet leadership ability and of course his awesome hitting ability. This book is for Don Mattingly lovers. I thouroughly enjoyed it as it relived many of my childhood memories watching or reading about Donnie Baseball. There is nothing bad to say about Donnie Baseball becasue he was such a genuine, loyal and great basbeall player. Apparently to sell a book or get a good review, you have to have some dark past. It was so great to see that many of the 90's dynasty players(Jeter, O'neill, Pettite, Bernie) all gave credit to Donnie Baseball for their successful run. Today, my favorite player is #2(Derek Jeter) because he reminds me so much of Don Mattingly. I am an avid softball player now and I have been wearing #23 for 21 years. Donnie, I give you a 5 star rating for this book.