End of an Icon: How the Yankees replaced Don Mattingly before he decided to retire

Fan Confidence Poll: February 2nd, 2015
Syd Thrift and the suddenly thrifty George Steinbrenner were an odd fit in 1989
(Getty)
(Getty)

It’s almost never easy dealing with the end of an iconic player’s career. Mariano Rivera made it very easy for the Yankees two years ago but the end of Derek Jeter‘s career was a bit difficult last season. He was no longer productive at the plate and his defense was a major issue, yet he continued to play shortstop everyday and bat high in the order because he is Derek Jeter. Situations like that are pretty uncomfortable.

Two decades ago, the Yankees were facing the end of another iconic player’s career, this one Don Mattingly’s. Like Jeter last season, Donnie Baseball was beloved by fans but no longer the player he was during his prime. Mattingly was one of the best players in baseball during the 1980s, being named the 1985 AL MVP and finishing the decade with a .323 average and a 144 OPS+ in 1,015 games.

Chronic back problems cut short his peak — Mattingly hit a career worst .256 with an 81 OPS+ in 1990, at age 29 — and Mattingly hit .286 with a 105 OPS+ in 770 games in the 1990s. By 1995, things between the Yankees and their most popular player had grown contentious. After going 3-for-5 with a home run — his first homer in 55 games — against the Royals on July 20th, Mattingly snapped at reporters and told Jack Curry “I’m not willing to share with you all anymore, about the city and about the way I feel. I’m just not willing to share.”

Just days earlier, the New York Daily News ran a scathing article about Mattingly’s performance, an article Mattingly believed had been planted by George Steinbrenner. “I know where it’s coming from and I’m not going to forget it,” he said to Curry. Steinbrenner responded by telling Curry “to say I want to drive Don Mattingly out is crazy. Don Mattingly belongs with the greatest Yankees of all time. Nobody should ever say that I’m trying to get him to go. I hope and pray he doesn’t … When he wants to leave New York, I want him to come down and tell me.”

The season continued and the situation with Mattingly grew more uncomfortable. He suggested he would play in Japan after the season and the Yankees dropped hints that they were planning to pursue Red Sox slugger Mo Vaughn to play first base. “I have total respect for Mo Vaughn and what he does and what kind of person he is,” said Mattingly to Curry. “That’s no problem if they want to go in that direction. You can handle it properly. There are ways to handle things with class and respect. Treat me properly. Treat me with respect. You don’t have to back-stab me to make it look like I can’t play anymore.”

Thanks to an outstanding finish — the Yankees won five straight games and 11 of 12 to close out the regular season — the Yankees claimed the first wildcard spot in the AL history, finishing two games ahead of the Angels. All of the Mattingly nonsense was pushed to the back burner. He was in the postseason for the first time in his career and he delivered, going 10-for-24 (.417) with four doubles and a homer in the five games against the Mariners.

Despite Mattingly’s offensive dominance, the Yankees lost the series in heartbreaking walk-off fashion in the decisive Game Five. Suddenly the issue of the star first baseman’s future was once again front and center. In early November, Curry reported Steinbrenner called Mattingly’s agent Jim Krivacs and told him retaining his client was very important to him. It was the first time Steinbrenner or the Yankees in general showed any interest in bringing Mattingly back for the 1996 season.

And yet, while all of that was going on, the team was pursuing other first base options. Vaughn was named the 1995 AL MVP and Boston wasn’t interested in trading him, especially to a division rival. Fred McGriff and Mark Grace were both free agents that offseason, as were other first base candidates like B.J. Surhoff and Mickey Tettleton. The Yankees focused on Mariners first baseman Tino Martinez, who crushed New York during the regular season and was available because Seattle was slicing payroll. Tino had just turned 28 and was coming off a season in which he hit .293 with 31 homers and a 135 OPS+.

“The opportunity to play in New York would be pretty special,” said Martinez to Curry in the middle of all the trade rumors. “Either way, I’m going to be in a great situation because I think the Mariners are going to have a great team and I think the Yankees are going to have a great team, too. Seattle is special to me, and every kid dreams about playing for the Yankees.”

Trade talks started in November and carried into December, and the deal went through many iterations. At first it was Martinez for left-hander Sterling Hitchcock and third base prospect Russ Davis. At another point it was Martinez, righty Jeff Nelson, and a prospect for Hitchcock, Davis, and minor league catcher Jorge Posada. GM Bob Watson, who replaced Gene Michael in October after Michael stepped down, tried to get Davis out of that deal. “I didn’t like the idea that was proposed,” Mariners GM Woody Woodward told the Associated Press.

(Getty)
(Getty)

McGriff signed with the Braves on December 2nd and Tettleton signed with the Rangers a few days later. The Yankees badly wanted Martinez and their first base options were dwindling, but before they could part with Davis — Baseball America ranked Davis as the 78th best prospect in baseball prior to the 1995 season — they needed to re-sign Wade Boggs to play third. Boggs agreed to a new two-year contract on December 5th, and, two days later, the Yankees and Mariners were in agreement on the Martinez trade. It was Martinez, Nelson, and righty Jim Mecir for Hitchcock and Davis.

The trade was not done, however. Martinez was eligible for salary arbitration that offseason and was set to become a free agent after the 1997 season. The Yankees didn’t want to give up two highly touted young players in Hitchcock and Davis for a player who could leave town in two years. Seattle granted New York a 48-hour window to negotiate a contract extension with Martinez and the two sides eventually came to terms on a five-year, $20.25M contract. “It’s a great day. I mean, my head is spinning. It’s probably one of the greatest days of my life,” said Tino to Curry after signing.

The Yankees had their new first baseman, but what about their old first baseman? Mattingly was going through his usual offseason workout routine and the only team he’d ever known had just traded for his replacement. They didn’t even bother to check in to see whether he’d made a decision about his future. Mattingly sat out the 1996 season and, on January 23rd, 1997, Mattingly stood alongside Steinbrenner at Yankee Stadium and announced his retirement from baseball.

”I wasn’t willing to pay the price it was going to take to be able to succeed. At that point, I knew it was time to step away,” said Mattingly to Curry while explaining that his back, wrist, elbow, and knees were giving him too much trouble during his workouts to continue playing. Four months shy of his 36th birthday, his body had had enough. Steinbrenner announced at the retirement press conference that Mattingly’s No. 23 would be retired.

”I don’t believe any player on the New York Yankees was ever as great as Don Mattingly in every way during my years as an owner,” said Steinbrenner at the press conference. ”He was a great athlete and a great player. Some great athletes are not great human beings and vice versa. This man combined all of that.”

Mattingly revealed the Orioles made him a contract offer to play in 1996, and while it did get his attention and make him wonder which other clubs could be interested, he ultimately decided to hang up his spikes. After 14 years in pinstripes, several months of trading barbs through the media, Mattingly’s career was officially over.

”To come from where I came from to this point is a long road for the guy who couldn’t run, who couldn’t throw and who didn’t hit for power,” said Mattingly to Curry. ”It’s a long ride. It’s been a great ride.”

Fan Confidence Poll: February 2nd, 2015
Syd Thrift and the suddenly thrifty George Steinbrenner were an odd fit in 1989
  • Y’s Guy

    For all of you young kids who love to worship at the altar of Steibrenner, THIS was George Steinbrenner! The old guy who was losing his mind and smiled at everyone and cried when they won was not the real George Steinbrenner.

    • TheEvilUmpire

      I think George Costanza put it best: George Steinbrenner used to fire people like it was a bodily function.

    • W.B. Mason Williams

      Appreciating the bad with the good is always important. Like the book says, the guy was the last lion of baseball.

      There’s a reason Billy Martin hovers on the outskirts of my favorite players.

    • W.B. Mason Williams

      Appreciating the bad with the good is always important. Like the book says, the guy was the last lion of baseball.

      There’s a reason Billy Martin hovers on the outskirts of my favorite players.

  • Martin Toomajian

    Mattingly didn’t retire until 1997. He sat out 1996 and then decided to retire the following January.

    • TheEvilUmpire

      I remember something about him wanting to keep his options open that offseason.

  • TheEvilUmpire

    Great retrospective piece! I forgot how much George used to speak out of both sides of his mouth! Has to make me wonder if George were still around and had his faculties about him in the 2013 offseason if the same thing would have happened to Jeter?

    • Y’s Guy

      It also shows that contrary to popular opinion, George didn’t change his stripes and become a new man when he came back from the Winfields suspension.

      • TheEvilUmpire

        If anything, he just picked up some tact and learned how to do things more subtly behind the scenes.

  • Tino’s better

    It was the best move the Yankees ever made in their history. Replacing Donnie for a winner.

    • TheEvilUmpire

      I seem to remember some obscure left-handed slugger they picked up in the 20’s named Ruth who might have been a tad better than Tino…

      • Tino’s better

        Man, did that guy ever hit a home run with 2 outs in the 9th of a World Series game?!

        • Y’s Guy

          He never let it come to that.

      • Tino’s better

        Didn’t Ruth also get caught stealing to end a world series? Not very Tino like there!

        • TheEvilUmpire

          You’re right, hitting 3 home runs in a world series game and calling your own shot could never make up for that kind of boneheaded play!

          • Tino’s better

            How about hitting a Grand Slam, where beer goes flying out of the upper deck, Also, can we talk regular season opening day for a second. Tino’s diving stop down the line to rob Johnny Damon of a triple on opening day 2005.

            • TheEvilUmpire

              Again, I must agree with you, all that Ruth fellow ever did during the regular season was out-homer entire teams… what a slacker!

              • Tino’s better

                Save some homers for other players!

              • http://batman-news.com nyyankfan7

                Ruth hit too many homers. Needed more clutch singles.

                • TheEvilUmpire

                  Yeah really! Learn to bunt, dude!

    • Y’s Guy

      Down here where we eat less beans we use ‘replace with’ not ‘replace for.’

    • Y’s Guy

      This reminds me, we have a bunch of RS trolls of course, and even one or two BJ trolls, but the Orioles are sevely underrrepresented in trolling….

      • TheEvilUmpire

        I think we might be dealing with a rare Mariners troll.

      • Tino’s better

        No! I love the Yankees. Tino is my favorite player ever. His home run in old timers day a couple years ago, was the best moment of the season.

        • The Great Gonzo

          I think it was anecdotal, and not a shot at you.

        • Y’s Guy

          with fans like that….

        • TheEvilUmpire

          I loved Mattingly – my favorite player as a kid in fact. However, I never really got to see him in his prime, just his decline. I can see how someone who saw him as the shell of a player he was in the 90’s would have been relieved to have him replaced with Tino. Donnie Baseball will still hold a nostalgic place in my heart.

      • http://batman-news.com nyyankfan7

        what guy isn’t a BJ troll?

      • SweetSpot

        Nice work. You basically extended an invitation to every crab shell sucking bay rat on the east coast. Watch.

  • UnKnown

    Great breakdown.

  • pfoj

    IIRC, Tino and his agent were expecting a much smaller offer. They left the room and high fived after the Yankees first offer and eventually accepted something very similar.

    • TheEvilUmpire

      I don’t recall that detail. I remember feeling slightly shocked at the time that a player would commit 5 years to a team that he has not even suited up for yet, but if what you’re saying is true then it makes perfect sense. Sure, I’d take a job in a different town if you backed a truckload of cash up to my front door! Where do I sign, Mr. Steinbrenner?

  • The Great Gonzo

    Great writeup. I suppose I didn’t know or care to know the details of it as I was just a teenager and cared more about the game of baseball than the business of it at the time. But it tells a story on how George operated, even after the suspension.

    • http://batman-news.com nyyankfan7

      but….but….but…what about the “George would be rolling over in his grave” mantra??

  • Looser Trader FotD™

    I’m 45 and Donnie Baseball is my favorite Yankee ever. I’ve been lucky enough to attend pretty much all the playoff and WS games since ’76 and even though there have been so many amazing moments and so many amazing players, Donnie was the guy I followed most closely and loved during my super formative teen years. I think the summer where he and Winfield battled for the batting title was my favorite baseball thing ever. That seems strange as I write it considering all the team success along the way (almost none of which included Mattingly), but there it is.

    • Y’s Guy

      1985 is the most tragic year in my Yankee memories. Rickey, Donnie and Guidry all at thier peak yet the Blue Jays beat them out… Mattingly 145 rbi, Henderson 80 sb Winfield 114 rbi, Gator 22-6! Bad Karma from the Yogi firing!

      • Y’s Guy

        I would argue, however that Henderson should have won the 85 MVP, not Donnie.

        • Looser Trader FotD™

          Someone above posted their respective WAR numbers and by that count you’re right. That said, I still vote Donnie :) with my heart

      • Looser Trader FotD™

        Yeah – that season encapsulated everything that a love of baseball can bring – high highs, low lows, near misses, joy, pain. What a summer.

  • W.B. Mason Williams

    Mattingly, Jeter and Rivera all had great careers and their retirements were big, sad affairs, but let’s not pretend like they’re Mookie Betts or Xander Bogaerts or anything.

    /fatman’d

  • Drew

    Donnie Baseball – All the feels.

    My all time favorite Yankees even though I only saw him play live once. July 25 1993 vs California Angles which was my first ever baseball game. Yankees down 8-0 after the first inning, and came back to win 9-8 with a Pat Kelly bottom of the 9th walk off hit. Donnie went 0-4 but I was 5 years old and I remember being so excited to watch him play.

    • TheEvilUmpire

      I remember watching that game on TV, good times!

    • TheEvilUmpire

      I remember watching that game on TV, good times!

    • IVoted4Kodos

      I was at that game too! My friend’s dad got us seats one row behind the Yankee dugout. We kept yelling at Mattingly to throw us the ball he used to warm up the infield, but he just laughed.

      What a great game.

  • I talked to Barzini

    Bravo, Mike.

  • TheEvilUmpire

    You know, we can now fairly make the comparison between Donnie Baseball and Tino Martinez that we have all been making since Tino’s slow start in 1996. Donnie had the higher peak, but Tino had the more consistent career. Peak Mattingly would have fit right in on those 1990’s championship teams IMHO.

    • W.B. Mason Williams

      Peak Mattingly would have made the 1996 Yankees probably the consensus greatest team of all time.

      I love me some Tino, but Donnie is a little short of the HOF, Tino falls well short.

      • http://batman-news.com nyyankfan7

        Lets not act like Tino was some slouch.

        1997: .296 avg 44 hr 141 RBI .577 SLG .948 OPS

        God I miss offense in baseball….

        • W.B. Mason Williams

          Oh I’m with you man. Tino had some serious impact. But that 1997 season, by far Tino’s best, would be #5 in Donny’s career.

        • Chip

          Nicely done – picking out the year they had a first round exit.

          • TheEvilUmpire

            We could cite Mattingly’s 1985 MVP year here on the other end too, a season that the Yankees didn’t even make the playoffs (but would have won the WC if it had existed).

          • http://batman-news.com nyyankfan7

            yeah I’m an idiot; I forgot about all those years Mattlingly teams got past the first round…..

            • Chip

              3 things:

              1: Different playoff systems
              2: Mattingly’s career OPS. 830; Tino’s OPS in 7 years with the Yankees .831
              3: If Tino had played for the Yankee teams that Mattingly did he would have exactly as many rings as Mattingly does.

              • http://batman-news.com nyyankfan7

                and If your Grandma had nuts she’d be your Grandpa

                • Chip

                  Just not sure how you claim, when the teams were totally different, that it was Tino who was solely responsible for getting the Yankees deep in the playoffs…in fact his career post season numbers kinda suck.

                  • http://batman-news.com nyyankfan7

                    Who the hell said anything about Tino being the sole responsibility for the Yankees late 90’s success? The original post I replied to said “Peak Mattingly would have made the 1996 Yankees probably the consensus greatest team of all time” and I simply was making a point that Tino was not some slouch who came in and didn’t perform.

                    • Chip

                      Fair enough – I misunderstood your original premise. Bottom line is that the Yankees should be so lucky with their current transition from an icon as they were with that one.

              • TheEvilUmpire

                True on all points, although comparing OPS is nonsense due to them playing in different offensive climates… power was more scarce in the 1980s. Although a few wRC+ points from a 1B is not going to make or break a championship team, I’ll give you that.

                • Chip

                  Well here’s the other thing you can point to – Mattingly’s peak offensive years were pretty similar to the years Tino put up on average in terms of power numbers. Those years Mattingly was in the top 10 in MVP voting…Tino wasn’t even voted to the AS game.

    • Tino’s better

      There’s a reason the Yankees fell apart after 01. It was because Tino left. True captain of the dynasty years. Peak Mattingly, Yankees fall short like they did his whole career.

      • pfoj

        Yup, the 2002 Yankees collapsed and came up with a measly 103 wins.

        • Tino’s better

          We don’t settle for first round exits as success seasons. That’s what Tino tried explaining to the Marlins, who unjustly fired him.

          • TheEvilUmpire

            I thought Tino got fired for employing some WWE moves on his hitting pupils….

            • http://batman-news.com nyyankfan7

              his hitting pupils were pussies, just like Adrian Peterson’s kid.

              • Drew

                Just like Janay Palmer. Couldn’t take more than a punch. She was such a girl about it.

            • Tino’s better

              Allegedly! Those guys weren’t tough enough to be ballplayers.

          • pfoj

            I know you’re a troll, but they didn’t lose in 2002 because of Giambi or Nick Johnson replacing Tino. They gave up 28 runs in four games, the pitching just couldn’t get the job done that year for whatever reason. That’s baseball.

        • IVoted4Kodos

          A bigger group of bums has never been assembled!

        • IVoted4Kodos

          A bigger group of bums has never been assembled!

      • whileaway

        nonsense.

      • Chip

        um…

        a) They didn’t fall apart
        b) they also lost O’Neill, Brosius, Justice and Knoblauch between 01 and 02

      • HoopDreams

        Yeah they fell apart, world series appearances, division titles, pennants and so forth after 2001 never occurred, whoops

      • Stan

        Tino had much better players around him. Not to take anything away from Tino of course.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        The BGT is strong here.

  • Peter Gpt

    Mattingly retired in January 1997, not 2 months after they picked up Tino. He sat out the 96 season and retired afterwards.

    http://www.nytimes.com/1997/01/23/sports/mattingly-says-farewell-and-so-does-his-number.html

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      We forget that Mattingly definitely threw out feelers with other teams as to a comeback after ’96. I remember there definitely being contact with the Marlins.

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    I had forgotten how bittersweet it was for me to see my favorite player, at the time, be replaced, and what it was like to get used to a new face. If anything, the year’s make it much easier to go through this now with Jeter.

    I remember the RAB thread well. LoHud, though, wouldn’t shut up about Ariel Prieto.

    • Moncada’s Codpiece

      Ariel Prieto existed. I think this qualifies as the mind-blowing fact of the day.

      • pfoj

        He took his million dollar signing bonus check, left it in his pants, and destroyed it in the washing machine.

        • Moncada’s Codpiece

          I take this as a good omen for the Moncada sweepstakes.

          • TheEvilUmpire

            Lemme guess, ’cause Moncada doesn’t wear pants?

      • TheEvilUmpire

        That was back when Cuban players came over on log rafts they lashed together themselves on the beach. Now they arrive on cruise ships.

      • IVoted4Kodos

        You learn something new every day!

    • http://riveraveblues.com/ Mick

      Hyperbole much?

  • whileaway

    I remember 1983 when Mattingly was called up from AAA. In 1985 Martin would often bat Mattingly 2nd in the order with Rickey as the leadoff hitter. Rickey would be standing on 2nd after stealing the base with Mattingly picking up the RBI . Mattingly was absolutely 1 of the best clutch hitters I´ve ever seen. Also one of the best defensive 1B too. 9 GGs.
    He was still an excellent player 92-94. The damn fricken back problems.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      I vividly remember his first at-bat for absolutely no reason.

  • http://batman-news.com nyyankfan7

    I vote the next Yankee icon write up like this should be for Don Slaught

    • The Great Gonzo

      Thursday: Chasen Shreve.

      • TheEvilUmpire

        And his innings to be thrown later…

      • Chip

        Francisco Cervelli

      • Wicomico Pinstripes

        Gotta be Scott Sizemore, no?

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          I’ll wear all black for the solemn occasion.

          Friday will be remembering Jeff Pentland’s 100th birthday.

        • Looser Trader FotD™

          Cesar Cabral.

    • Y’s Guy

      Oscar Azocar.

      • TheEvilUmpire

        Brian Taylor

        • Y’s Guy

          I saw him in Colonie, too! Damn, he was good!

          • Y’s Guy

            In Fact it just hit me last night that when Jeter retired, it closed the book on Heritage Park in Colonie, he was the last AC Yankee in baseball.

        • http://batman-news.com nyyankfan7

          it was Brien.

          And I would like to see a write up about all the potential trades they could have made had they been willing to trade him. Reason number 87,543 to not hug your prospects too tightly.

          • TheEvilUmpire

            You know I had that originally, but forced myself to edit it in the end. Self-doubt, thou art a soul-crushing monster!

        • Y’s Guy

          I think Taylor had averaged move than 2K/IP in high school!

      • IVoted4Kodos

        Alvaro Espinoza. With a focus on his glasses.

        • TheEvilUmpire

          Which takes the focus off the fact that he was more likely to be hit by the ball than to hit the ball.

          • IVoted4Kodos

            I think he was more likely to get hit in the face by a rainbow than he was to hit the ball.

            • TheEvilUmpire

              Nicely done, sir.

              • IVoted4Kodos

                Thank you, my good man.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          Paul Zuvella, for going 0 for six million.

      • Looser Trader FotD™

        Oscar Gamble.

    • The DonSlaught

      I concur.

    • Stan

      Before Mattingly my last Yankee hero was Graig Nettles. So thats where my vote would be

    • http://riveraveblues.com/ Mick

      Mike Stanley.

  • Alkaline

    Love and mad respect for Donnie. But, Tino was and is my favorite player of all time. Personal story behind why, but some thing happen when you’re a child that causes a connection with that player and team. Tino was it for me.

    • IVoted4Kodos

      He was my favorite player of the dynasty years.

      I wish I could say I had some good reason, but it’s mainly because I liked his name in MLBPA baseball for the SNES. He was on Seattle at the time, but his name was really fun to say.

      • Y’s Guy

        I fell in love with Bernie in Colonie, so he was my guy all the way through.

  • Chip

    Donnie was my favorite Yankee but the bottom line is that they had to move on – he was a number 3 or 5 hitter with no power. GMs and owners can’t think like fans.

  • dickylarue

    I loved Mattingly. I remember all the back and forth with George. Even earlier with the haircut stuff. I remember as a little kid seeing Mattingly wear #46 and play in the OF as a callup. I also think for all the sniping, the two still cared about one another enough that Donnie stayed with the org and George knew the value of having him in the org. It wasn’t just to wave to the fans. He wanted Donnie with the team and was grooming him to manage someday here.

    The fact we were able to replace him with Tino in 1996 is about as insane as us having Jeter, Mo, Bernie, Andy at the same time. We’re talking a 28yo power hitting 1b who could play defense and was built for our ballpark.

    And even then, Tino struggled with the contract and the replacing a legend stuff enough that George went and got Cecil Fielder that year.

    This is where I tell fans to be cautious about anointing Didi. He’s not half the player Tino was when he was traded to replace a legend (Tino was a star 1b in his prime) and Tino struggled mightily replacing an icon. The media are going to pounce on Didi if he struggles and makes mistakes and do all the stupid Jeter comparisons.

    • W.B. Mason Williams

      If Didi were REALLY able to replace Jeter, we wouldn’t need to be having this conversation!

    • TheEvilUmpire

      Cecil Fielder was the answer to subpar DH output, primarily from Ruben Sierra. It was a bit of a coup that they got Big Daddy for Sierra and Matt Drews, who subsequently flamed out with arm issues.

      • Chip

        Well Sierra complained his way into Torre’s doghouse and then off the team, but in the World Series, Torre had no problem yanking Tino for Cecil.

        • TheEvilUmpire

          Tino was having a brutal postseason that year, and in the NL park he had to choose between Tino and Cecil. Seeing that Cecil drove in the only run in a 1-0 Andy Pettitte shutout, I think Torre made the right choice.

          • Chip

            No question – he also made the right choice in pulling Boggs for Hayes when he did.

            • TheEvilUmpire

              All those pop-up catching drills paid off big time in Game 6… though I’d still defer to Boggs for his mad equestrian skills.

              • vicki

                as i mused after the last world series, doesn’t it seem like a lot of big games end with a pop-up to the third baseman?

                • http://riveraveblues.com/ Mick

                  nettles and hayes come to mind.

    • Dalek Jeter

      To even draw the comparison between the Mattingly->Martinez and Jeter->Gregorious transitions is silly. Tino, like you said, was already an established, in his prime, middle of the line up hitter. Didi is a young kid with 724 ML plate appearances and 191 games played. Completely different situations, this is much more like replacing Bernie Williams with Melky Cabrera.

      • W.B. Mason Williams

        Didi’s party lifestyle is going to hold Rob Refsnyder back!

        • HoopDreams

          Melky delivered the melk to that porn star in his hotel room “I like a da woman”

      • TheEvilUmpire

        I kind of remember Bernie being pushed out the door as well… I even recall him being willing to stick around as a part-time player and not getting more than a minor league contract offer.

        • Dalek Jeter

          He sorta was, but at the same time, he was never good defensively and his last 2 years he had a wRC+ of 85 and 95, respectively. Once an offense first player’s offense goes there isn’t really much to be done.

          • TheEvilUmpire

            We could say the same thing about Mattingly too. They could have use a little more tact and class in dealing with them, but in the end the front office made the right decision on both players.

            • Dalek Jeter

              Agreed on all counts.

            • Jorge Steinbrenner

              It more often doesn’t look good on the way out.

      • dickylarue

        I know it’s silly. But you don’t think the writers for the Post and Daily News aren’t going to drawn an instant comparison to Jeter? Because they will. They’ll rile up readers with that cliche approach to sportswriting.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          Of course, but you know the business they’re in, as does anyone without a nameplate that reads, “Bigdan, Esq.”

          • dickylarue

            Agreed. I just think fans here need to be aware that if Didi struggles, makes a big error, etc. the rags are going to roast him and the casual fan will call for his head. Acting like that won’t happen here is silly. It’s a big piece of the development of these guys. Doing well enough to keep the target off their back is invaluable. Luckily they’ll have Arod, Tex and CC to take aim at early on.

            • http://riveraveblues.com/ Mick

              A lot depends how he reacts to it.
              If he lets it roll off his back he might be OK.
              If it bothers him , it will only get worse.
              Body language.

            • Jorge Steinbrenner

              Alex Rodriguez, the Gregorious family turns to you.

        • http://riveraveblues.com/ Mick

          Whatever it takes to drum up a “story.”
          That’s their job..
          Storytellers.

  • HoopDreams

    Donnie baseball was before my time, but my father was a huge fan of him and nearly caught a homerun by him in the 95 ALDS with my uncle. Fun fact of the day!

  • Moncada’s Codpiece

    Not only does it makes me reminisce about that time, but it also made me remember the heart of the Mariners lineup during that time. Griffey was the star, but the Martinezes could also kill you, along with Buhner. What a time.

    • HoopDreams

      If only Griffey could consistently stay healthy, man was he special

      • Moncada’s Codpiece

        This. He already lost a good portion of ’95 going into the wall, but in later years, when he could still hit one out, he could have had 700 home runs. Also a shame that he did it so quietly in Cincinnati. Most of my memories of him are in those M’s uniforms.

    • TheEvilUmpire

      Felix Fermin longs for those days too as he takes aim at his A-Rod dart board.

    • Chip

      I’m not sure which trade Seattle would rather have back:

      Tino, Nelson and Mecir for Russ Davis and Sterling Hitchcock
      Varitek and Derek Lowe for Heathcliff Slocumb

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        Not so easy an answer.

      • Moncada’s Codpiece

        If I were them, I’d probably say the former. Martinez and Nelson would have helped during their playoff runs. More so than Varitek and Lowe, in my opinion.

        Edit: Actually, I might retract that and put it in the toss-up column. Forgot Olerud was still mashing at the time and Varitek would have been an upgrade over Dan Wilson.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          There was some value in, at least, Davis, though, strictly off the top of my head.

          • TheEvilUmpire

            Hitchcock was serviceable at the back of the rotation. He had that postseason run with San Diego in ’98.

            • Chip

              Nah, his one year with Seattle was a disaster then they traded him for a pitcher who was equally brutal.

              • TheEvilUmpire

                Now I did say serviceable, not the 2nd coming of Ron Guidry…

                • Jorge Steinbrenner

                  Everyone knows that Ray Fontenot was supposed to be the second coming of Guidry.

                  Fontenot was like the “Fake Razor Ramon” of Yankee pitchers.

                • Chip

                  Most interesting thing there is that the M’s probably could have had Pettitte instead of Hitchcock in that deal.

                  The Yankees had 3 LHP prospects – Andy, Eric Milton, Sterling Hitchcock and Andy was supposed to be the worst of the three.

                  • http://riveraveblues.com/ Mick

                    Sterling Hitchcock sucked.
                    Never gave more than 5 innings.

                • Chip

                  Serviceable is very kind :-)

                  196 IP. 5.35 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, 27 HR allowed (11/9 IP)

            • Jorge Steinbrenner

              Yup. I remember Hitchcock having a good season or two outside of the Yankees, but I certainly don’t remember that happening in Seattle.

          • Chip

            He gave them some “meh” years there – never lived up to the hype though.

        • Chip

          Well they did replace Tino with Paul Sorrento who had a few good years for them. And then David Segui who was really good for them. And Russ Davis gave them four meh years. Hitchcock made 35 starts but they were brutal (5.35 ERA) and was then dealt to the Padres for the equally horrible Scott Sanders.

          On the flip side – Varitek would have replaced Dan Wilson behind the plate for Seattle starting in 1998 and Lowe would have been right in the middle of that rotation with Moyer and Fassero behind the Unit. Instead Seattle filled out the rotation with Ken Cloude and Bill Swift.

          Given that – I think that they would rather have Tek and Lowe.

    • Looser Trader FotD™

      That HR that Buhner hit over the ambulance in LF still scares me.

  • John in Forest

    I remember watching on TV when Donnie first hurt his back; I believe it was 1988 on a play sliding into second base. My wife and I saw him sort of jam into the base and she said “That didn’t look good.” Just like that, he was no longer a great player. He’s one of those guys who suffers in comparison to later players because offense took off right after he retired and a first baseman who had hit 25 homers and drove in 110 didn’t look all that terrific anymore. At the time, he was as feared a hitter as anyone in baseball. Nobody drove in 145 runs in the 1980s; Rickey Henderson had something to do with that, but Mattingly (frequently batting from the second spot) delivered when it counted in 1985. He only had four full seasons at his peak before the back injury; no question, none at all, that he was headed for the Hall before that.

    • Paul San Filippo

      I’ve always heard that he hurt the back wrestling with Bob Shirley in the clubhouse.

      • Looser Trader FotD™

        Wasn’t it in a bar fight with Brien Taylor?

  • FatManMirrors

    Why do we always have to go to the past when talking about the Yankees, as a Rockies fan and a fan of the Yankees kinda because my cousin is a huge fan of the Yankees, the best 1B I ever saw was Todd Helton, who I believe was better than Mattingly athletic wise and made more contact with the ball

    • Moncada’s Codpiece

      Mostly because this post is about 1995.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        So why aren’t we discussing the great David Nied?

        • Moncada’s Codpiece

          Because he sucks.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            Motherfucker went FIRST in the expansion draft. Right before the great Nigel Wilson.

    • SweetSpot

      Why talk about the past? Umm, I dunno let me ponder that for a second. Maybe it’s because the Yankees being the most storied and successful sports franchise in history have a lot to talk about. You know, 27 world championships and the greatest superstars to ever put on a pair of spikes; players like Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle, Berra, Ford and Mariano to just mention a few. As opposed to the pathetic Red Sux who have barely been able to eek out 8 series wins in 114 years. Although one should give them some credit for providing homeless rodents a safe habitat in that disgusting brush pile of lice infested weeds they grow on their faces. Last but not least; since you seem to appreciate making contact so much; slap those electrodes back on your temples and give it another 50 amps.

      • Bryan B.

        They also provided “Cowboy Up.” Ha

    • Mandy Stankiewicz

      pathetic.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        It’s not even fun anymore.

        • http://riveraveblues.com/ Mick

          Perhaps we need a new influx of posters here.
          This current migration of 25 and under doesn’t seem to be working out.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            Oh, I wouldn’t connect any of this to age whatsoever.

            • http://riveraveblues.com/ Mick

              I know…

    • Bryan B.

      Todd Helton is from the past.

  • Stan

    Mattingly was the last Yankee who I rooted for on a player basis as opposed to the team. Not to say I didn’t want to see Jeter, Rivera, etc do well but I was 14 when Mattingly broke in with the Yankees and he was the last Yankee “hero” I had.
    That said looking back as objectively as I can, I understand why people say he is not HOF calibre. He had one of the single greatest seasons in ’85 when he won the MVP and great 5-6 year run. Its a shame back injuries curtailed his career or he would have hands down locked up the title of 2nd best Yankee 1B all time (he wasn’t going to displace Gehrig as much of a fan that I was I could never be that blind)
    It was terrible how the Yankees ended Mattingly’s career. Or more to the point Steinbrenner. They should have at least kept him as the lefty platoon DH if he wanted to come back.I believe he would have outproduced Sierra at any rate.

    • HoopDreams

      The only player I ever rooted for as opposed to the team would probably be Rivera, he was ice cold and the atmosphere completely changed everytime he came in. I have a similiar feeling growing right now with Betances, of course, I hope Dellin can be as dominant as Mo was year in and year out

      • Mandy Stankiewicz

        I liked Darryl Strawberry as a kid. He was probably my second favorite baseball player next to, of course, Mattingly.

        • HoopDreams

          Im only 20 so I missed a lot of those guys, grew up on the core 4 so they will always have a place for me. Specifically Mo, Mussina was cool too

          • Stan

            I say this not to be insulting but for insight. I think the people who root for players with that kind of enthusiasm are kids (again no offense but at 20 you are a stones throw away from your childhood) for me it was Nettles and Mattingly for you it was the Core 4.

            • HoopDreams

              It’s cool. My father tells me all the time about guys like Mickey Rivers, Donnie, Goose, list goes on and on. He witnessed a lot of great players and teams..and also some very bad teams

          • Stan

            Note.. though CHRONOLOGICALLY I am much older than you… My first thought was still I have socks older than you which shows you my humor can still be a little juvenille

            • TheEvilUmpire

              Dude, I think it’s time to buy some new socks…

              • Stan

                My wife likes this comment.

      • Stan

        I hear you, Rivera is the greatest closer all time.
        My rooting for players ended by the time i was 18 though. (I am actually a year and a half older than Rivera). As a kid my first Yankee hero was Graig Nettles then Mattingly then I guess time caught up with me and I just followed the team as a whole as opposed to players.

        • HoopDreams

          Rivera just got it, he had the perfect mentality for a pitcher. The things you can’t teach, I feel like Betances has that special attribute as well. Headley reminds me a bit of Nettles

    • Looser Trader FotD™

      I remember running to get the paper to check the box score to see what Donnie did on those rare times I’d missed the game. And even then. Seeing all those 3-4’s was a joy to behold. I was as interested in his lines as I was the W-L. That’s how much I love(d) him.

  • Y’s Guy

    Looking back at 1985 now with better stats, its pretty clear that Henderson was the better player in 85, even though Mattingly won the MVP. Henderson posted a 159 wRC+ to Donnie’s 151 and that doesn’t include steals. I dont trust the fWAR (Henderson 9.7 to Mattingly’s 6.1) because fishy defensive #’s heavily influence that in Henderson’s favor. in bWAR it was Mattingly 6.4 and Rickey 9.9. (I should add that Brett had an 8.3 bWAR/8.3fWAR and a 168 wRC+ and although it doesn’t count, won his franchise their only WS title!)

    • Stan

      Rickey has my vote for best Yankee LF all time (narrowly beating out Winfield).

      • Y’s Guy

        He doesn’t really qualify as a Yankee LF, he only played there 260 or so games.

      • Farewell Mo and Jeet

        He was a little hard to root at the time with all that crap about him holding himself out of games because of his “hammy”

        • Looser Trader FotD™

          Totally hard to root for, and I’m a lifelong fanatic of the team. I agree. The hammy schtick got reaaaaaal old.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        Kevin Thompson takes offense.

    • RetroRob

      Mattingly also hurt on defensive value because they never were able to figure out 1B, but no matter, Henderson was the more impactful player. Both were great, though. If only those teams had some more pitching.

      • Y’s Guy

        That’s why the Whitson signing was such a disaster. He had really only put up one solid season in SD and George signed him thinking he was the missing piece and he just crumbled under the pressure.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          Steinbrenner? Sign the wrong pitcher in the 80’s? NEVER!

  • dkidd

    my all-time favorite home run call
    goosebumps every time

  • just_add_bacon7

    As far as my wife is concerned, trading for Tino is the best move the Yanks ever made.

    • HoopDreams

      Paul O’Neill for Roberto Kelly

      • TheEvilUmpire

        The Yankees also got a minor leaguer in that deal. Kelly was seen to be the better player at the time of the trade.

        • Chip

          Yeah – Lou had branded O’Neill as a platoon player who couldn’t hit LHP.

          • TheEvilUmpire

            I think that demonstrates where the Yankees front office excels – in finding players that are more talented than their stat lines and getting them to perform up to expectations. Worked for O’Neill and Swisher, let’s hope Nate Eovaldi is the next on that list.

            • HoopDreams

              I guess you could say Grandy too, power wise at least. Swisher was a good fit who peaked at the right time..remember who they traded for him? Wilson Betemit.

              • Chip

                Not sure I would put Grandy in that mix. He just seemed like the right player for the park more than anything else.

                • HoopDreams

                  Perhaps, if anybody ever took advantage of that porch it was him

                  • Chip

                    Yup…but it also hurt him. He became the prototypical “All or Nothing” hitter.

              • TheEvilUmpire

                Indeed I do, the immortal Wilson Betemit – who coincidentally, was also a player with more talent that on the field results.

                • HoopDreams

                  Cash generally excells at trades, the FO has always been solid in that department. I do hope Eovaldi works out. We all do

                • ÅndyInSunnyDB

                  Betemit played in the GCL as a 15-year old

                  • vicki

                    whoa.

                    • ropeadope1

                      Joe Nuxhall pitched in the Major Leagues at the age of fifteen.

                  • Jorge Steinbrenner

                    Leonardo Molina is doomed.

        • Y’s Guy

          idk about that, Kelly had been better when he came up in 89/90 but had regressed the next 2 seasons. Oneill had hit 28 HR, 91 rbi in 91, I’d say they were about equal.

          • RetroRob

            I will say that the sabermetric community, of which I’ve been part of for years, hated the move from the Yankees side. Both were good players, although O’Neill’s career was more productive moving forward. O’Neill fit the needs of what the Yankees wanted more at the time (another LF’d bat) and they had Bernie to take over in CF.

          • http://riveraveblues.com/ Mick

            Sometimes less talent is more if you fit in better on a winning team. That was where O’Neill fit in.

          • Monterocouldstillbedinero

            Kelly’s had a lot more post season success as a 1B coach than a player.

            • Y’s Guy

              Good for Roberto! I always liked him and apparently so do the Giants! He had a decent career, but never got back to where he was his first season and a half.

    • vicki

      ladies love tino, for sure.

      • Looser Trader FotD™

        LLTM

  • FatManMirrors

    Can we do a Colorado Rockies thread for me so we can discuss past Rockies players

    • Moncada’s Codpiece
    • Y’s Guy

      Mattingly’s future teammates, Charlie Hayes and Joe Girardi were original Rox! (see how I did that?)

      • vicki

        and the seed that produced DBJ.

    • DeutschlandVolkNY

      Plakatkarton.

  • http://www.kevinclarke.com/ Clarkko

    The Hit Man! Donnie Baseball!
    Memory lane, the man most often hit, Don Baylor.

    • 86w183

      Craig Biggio topped Baylor in that category so he’s # 1 in the modern era

      • RetroRob

        Compiler!

      • Y’s Guy

        When you’re talking pure HBP, Ron Hunt is your man! 50 HBP for the Expos in ’71!

  • RetroRob

    RetroWeek.

    RetroRob approves.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      RetroRob….

  • Farewell Mo and Jeet

    It’s a shame that Mattingly couldn’t have stuck around another year or 2 as a part time 1st base/DH and gotten at least 1 ring.

    • http://riveraveblues.com/ Mick

      If we only had known..

    • http://batman-news.com nyyankfan7

      If we have Mattingly then that means 1 of Raines, Fielder, Seirra or Strawberry is not on the team. Obviously maybe he performs as well as any of them and they win regardless but maybe he doesn’t and it costs them a ring.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        I’d hit Tim Raines over the head with a shovel in order for Mattingly to get a ring.

        • http://batman-news.com nyyankfan7

          Tim Raines would out run you if you had a shovel. Or knock your ass out and snort a line in celebration.

        • vicki

          absolutely. but i think we’re in michael kay fallacy territory here.

        • Farewell Mo and Jeet

          You’d have better snuck up on Raines from behind. He was built like a little tank.

        • RetroRob

          Raines was a valuable player, so I’d keep him. Sierra’s the odd man out here, especially since he clashed with Torre on his first tour and they were looking to dump him. He was dead-man walking until they could figure out what to do with him.

          Mattingly came up as an OF/1B’man, and was actually more of an OFer on his arrival in the major leagues. He basically was an OFer who they then began pushing more to play 1B based on needs, and he of course took to the position fielding wise pretty easily. Yet if Mattingly wanted to continue his career and was willing to put back on his OFers glove, he could have certainly handled the position at that point as “well” as Sierra, if not better. In fact, at that age and with his back issue, playing part time and rotating from bench, OF, 1B, some DH could have been beneficial. Who knows. He might have stuck around for the dynasty run. To the end, he could still hit right-handed pitchers, in ’95 triple slashing .300/.355/.427.

          Mattingly might have actually improved those teams in a reduced role.

          • Bertin Lefkovic

            If I remember correctly, Sierra started the season as the Yankees regular DH and was probably making a decent amount of money, so if the Yankees wanted Mattingly to DH regularly or even just against RHPs, Sierra would have become a very expensive, switch-hitting platoon player. Considering how bad Sierra was playing before being traded, it is amazing that the Tigers were willing to trade Fielder, who was playing much better for them, for him.

            Not sure what the Yankees could have gotten for Sierra before that season began if they wanted to make room for Mattingly. As far as Mattingly playing the outfield goes, with Paul O’Neill and Bernie Williams locked in at RF and CF respectively, the only OF position that Mattingly could have played is LF, which seems like a stretch. Even if the Yankees could have traded Sierra for Fielder at the beginning of the season, he would have probably blocked Mattingly out even more than Sierra did.

            Was there a Johnny Gomesesque right-handed hitter out there during the 1995-1996 hot stove season who would have made more sense as a platoon partner for Mattingly than Sierra? Actually, if Tony Fernandez had not injured himself during ST, opening up SS for Derek Jeter, the Yankees could have done worse than a Mattingly/Jeter platoon in 1996.

            That still doesn’t answer the question of what the Yankees would have been able to do with Sierra at that point in his career. Could they have traded him for a starting pitcher, possibly someone better than Dwight Gooden, who was lousy in April, very good in May (no-hitter on May 14), June, July, and part of August until he ran out of gas?

      • Farewell Mo and Jeet

        Sierra had a 83 OPS+ in 400 ABs. I think Mattingly could have equalled or exceeded his production

        • http://batman-news.com nyyankfan7

          Sierra was traded for Fielder in ’96 so no Sierra means no Fielder.

          • RetroRob

            Doesn’t necessarily mean that. It’s not as if the Tigers decided one morning they had to have Ruben Sierra. The Yankees wanted to add Fielder, so they two teams came to a deal.

            • http://batman-news.com nyyankfan7

              Ok but it does mean they are without somebody else from the WS roster.

    • Tom_hamsandwich

      what if Mattingly came back in ’96 with the O’s and beat the Yankees in the playoff to get that ring?

  • Bryan B.

    Fantastic article. I was too young to remember Mattingly playing or the hoopla that occurred, but this article definitely paints a picture for me.

  • kikojones

    “He was no longer productive at the plate and his defense was a major issue, yet he continued to play shortstop everyday and bat high in the order because he is Derek Jeter.”

    And that’s where the Jeter deification will always hit the skids for me. Was he greater than Yogi or Mantle, for instance? Um, no. Yet, those legends took their relative demotions without much issue. But not St. Derek. Ugh.

    Long live Donnie Baseball.

    • RetroRob

      False narrative.

      • kikojones

        Have at it, Boss.

        • RetroRob

          Back it up. Show your work in the margins.

        • RetroRob

          BTW To be clear, you’re criticizing Jeter because he didn’t accept his “demotion” as did Mantle and Berra. Both of those players were told to move. When was Jeter told to move? His last full season before 2014 was 2012, and I’d be happy to have 2012 Jeter back at SS.

          What you’re saying is Jeter needs to do something more than past Yankees, and that is to demote himself. Highly competitive athletes are highly competitive athletes for a reason. That’s why I claimed what you wrote was a false narrative. The Yankees moved Mantle and Berra. They never moved Jeter.

          And to Jeter’s credit, he always said he would know when it was time to leave. He announced up front he was leaving. He never forced them into a situation where they’d have to fire him. He went out as DiMaggio did, not as Mantle and Berra.

          • kikojones

            The greatest SS of the last 50 years, arguably, came to the Bronx and M

            • RetroRob

              Ok, but I can’t hold any of those things against Jeter. Why would I? Why would anyone? Your words indicate that you were trying to elevate the Yankee greats of the past against Jeter yet it is Jeter who could teach them when it comes to public perception. DiMaggio was probably one of the most surly ingrates to ever wear a Yankee uniform. He was also short of Ruth, Gehrig and Mantle the greatest Yankee ever, but I can’t honor the fact he didn’t think anyone was worthy of his presence. Be honest with yourself. If you dislike Jeter, you would HATE DiMaggio. Joe D, the Babe, Gehrig, etc. had the media as their PR machine. They covered up all imperfections and created myth they wanted because it sold newspapers. Jeter had none of that. He controlled a media that was constantly searching for dirt on him. All the former Yankee greats had the media covering up their dirt.
              The Yankees gave Jeter a raise for his final year for one simple reason, one that I can’t prove but one that is painfully obvious. The Jeter retirement tour was going to make the NY Yankees a lot of money. Jeter simply asked for a piece of the pie to announce it in advance. There is nothing wrong with that. DiMaggio would have approved. Mickey and Yogi never would have thought of it.

              • kikojones

                Let me make this plain: you are one of the folks here whose comments I enjoy and as such I would hope to never offend you. But your response is precisely what irks me about the whole Jeter deification: you can’t make the guy godlike and then excuse his feet for being both made of clay and carrying a powerful stench.

                • RetroRob

                  Thanks. To be clear, I’m not into the deification or the de-deification of a player. I don’t believe Jeter suddenly is better in clutch situations, I don’t believe he was a gold glove SS. Yet saying positive things about a great player also shouldn’t be viewed as deification. My initial take was to disagree with your original statement, or that fans believe Jeter was selfish by not moving off of SS when A-Rod showed up, yet that wasn’t his job or any other player’s job. Jeter doesn’t believe A-Rod is a better SS. That’s up to management to tell him that and move him if that’s what they want. They didn’t and never asked him. Beyond that, I agree with your overall points. With that, I’ll move on before Mike one day discovers a never-ending discussion in this thread!

                  • kikojones

                    “Jeter doesn’t believe A-Rod is a better SS. That’s up to management to tell him that and move him if that’s what they want. They didn’t and never asked him.”
                    Of course, we both know the answer to that one, don’t we? And right there we have the crux of my beef.

    • sanitychecker

      You obviously weren’t alive for Mantle’s final season. I was. I saw him. I loved him. It was painful to watch, but I’m glad he played it out anyway.

      Loved Mattingly, too. And Jeter.

    • Pete22

      Mantle was still the best hitter on his team, with a 143 OPS+ his final year in the year of the pitcher (thanks to his OBP and BB’s). His knees forced him to move to 1B and have more off days, but not sure anyone considered it a demotion. Jeter was healthy so if he was moved off SS it would have been a demotion, but his bat really did not justify a move to a more offensive position (1B, 3B, DH). Should have been dropped in the order though.

    • Bertin Lefkovic

      AMEN!

  • .zip file

    Don Mattingly is probably my all time favorite Yankee. I love this.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OvSmfyRc3pM

  • Pete22

    Supposedly Mattingly told Showalter and Michaels that he was retiring on the plane ride home after game 5

  • JFH

    I loved having Mattingly and Winfield back to back in the lineup. Mattingly’s back robbed him of a HoF career.

  • JFH

    I loved having Mattingly and Winfield back to back in the lineup. Mattingly’s back robbed him of a HoF career.