What: Live and silent memorabilia auctions, autograph sessions
When: February 6, 2010 Where: Vanderburgh 4-H Center
Who: Don Mattingly, Bob Gibson, Al Hrabosky, Andy Benes, Jamey Carroll, Clint Barmes and a group of minor leaguers including Jay Buente and Preston Mattingly
Tickets: Cost $20 and are available at all four Evansville Papa Murphy’s locations, Dilegge’s Restaurant and from baseball coaches at the Evansville high schools and the universities of Evansville and Southern Indiana or Online: www.hotstoveleague.org
Don Mattingly saw the news that Mark McGwire admitted using steroids throughout his career, and immediately had one thought.
“I’m happy for him,” Mattingly said on Wednesday, at a news conference for the Night of Memories coming up on Feb. 6. “He gets his life back. It seems like he’s been in hiding — I don’t know if he has or not, but I haven’t seen him anywhere or heard anything about him — and that’s no way to live. So I’m happy that he’s back in the game.”
For fans of a player like Mattingly, who has maintained his career was done without illicit pharmaceutical aid and who has never been implicated as an active participant in the steroid era, that might come as a surprise. The pair’s playing careers overlapped for 10 seasons (from 1985-1995), Donnie Baseball earning four All-Star selections during that period with the Yankees and McGwire, then an Athletic, six nods.
Linked by playing the same position in the same league, some anger over the admission might seem natural. But that’s not the case, he contends.
“No resentment at all,” Mattingly said. “What a guy does is their thing. You don’t want to condone anything like that, but I’m happy he has his life back.
“I’m not worried about the baseball part of it. I was what I was, and it wasn’t really any comparison to Mark or any other first baseman, I just wanted to be the best first baseman I could be. I was what I was.”
And Mattingly continues to be an integral part of the Tri-State Hot Stove League’s annual Night of Memories, now in its 11th year. This year’s event will feature former St. Louis great Bob Gibson, as well as former Cardinal pitchers Al Hrabosky and Andy Benes, who pitched at the University of Evansville.
But arguably no baseball player from Evansville has meant more or been better than Mattingly, now hitting coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
When it comes to his own memories, he doesn’t have many involving steroids in the game.
“Not hardly any,” he said. “I retired in ’95, and you started to see the players getting bigger and that Oakland club was one of the biggest … so you heard a few rumblings with different guys, but not much really hardly at all.
“I was really surprised when I got back in the game, talking to different people, how rampant it was.”