Don Mattingly Is in a Class with Yankees' Greats DiMaggio and Berra
Don Mattingly was another great hitter that didn't strike out often, and he played in an era when a strikeout was often thought of as just another out.
During DiMaggio's career, American League teams averaged about 557 strikeouts a season. That number rose to 687 when Berra played and was 875 during the Mattingly years.
DiMaggio struck out 369 times in his career, which averages to 28 strikeouts a season. Berra struck out 414 times or 24 times a season. Mattingly had 444 strikeouts for an average of about 34 times a season.
The following table compares each player's strikeouts with the average strikeouts of American League teams:
DiMaggio contributed 0.050, or about five percent, of a team's strikeouts, Berra contributed 0.035, or about three and one-half percent of a team's strikeouts. Mattingly contributed 0.039, or about four percent, of a team's strikeouts.
Mattingly and Berra struck out fewer times than DiMaggio when we compare their strikeouts to the average number of strikeouts by an American League team.
Until his back problems manifested themselves, Mattingly had good home run power and excellent extra-base power.
From 1984-89 he averaged 46 doubles, two triples and 29 home runs over a 162-game season with a .530 slugging average and only 37 strikeouts.
For his career, Mattingly averaged 40 doubles, two triples and 20 home runs with a .471 slugging average and 40 strikeouts.
Berra had a fantastic 1950 season when he hit 28 home runs and struck out 12 times in 656 plate appearances, but DiMaggio might have had an even more remarkable statistic.
In 1941, the year of his 56-game consecutive game hitting streak, DiMaggio hit 30 home runs and struck out 13 times in 622 plate appearances.
Mattingly's best effort occurred in 1986 when he hit 31 home runs and struck out 35 times in 742 plate appearances.
Berra struck out once for every 55 plate appearances, DiMaggio struck out once for every 48 plate appearances. Mattingly struck out once for every 21 plate appearances those seasons.
Don Mattingly is in pretty good company.
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