This response is to a letter writer from Orchard Park who would have everyone believe that a conspiracy has been perpetrated against Don Mattingly.
He compares the statistics of Kirby Puckett to Mattingly. Though Kirby and Donnie have similar offensive numbers, they played different positions. Mattingly played first base which is a position important to a team's offensive production. Center field commonly has a great importance placed on defensive ability. Any above average offense that is contributed is viewed as a bonus. This is why a center fielder with lesser numbers than "Donnie Baseball" could get in the Hall of Fame. For example, Earle Combs. Combs was a center fielder for the legendary Yankee teams from 1924-1935. Kirby Puckett's numbers are better than Combs' in most areas. Puckett is also the only player to ever post four consecutive 200-plus hit seasons.
Players he thinks should be in the Hall should be compared to players of that position actually in the Hall. If this were done, "Donnie Baseball's" numbers don't stand with Bottomley, Sisler, Foxx, Terry, etc.
Cecil Cooper and Steve Garvey are two of Mattingly's contemporaries with similar stats to Donnie and not in the Hall.
Kirby Puckett compares favorably to Hall of Fame outfielders Doby, Averill, Carey, Combs etc. Contrary to Mr. Spence's opinion, Puckett had better numbers than Murphy or Lynn. One other important item that Kirby has over Mattingly, Murphy, and Lynn is two World Series rings. How many World Series were the others even in?
Mattingly posted great numbers for four years, not six. To post superior numbers of only four years does not get a player into the Hall. Mantle and DiMaggio did it a lot longer than four years.
As for an injury-free career, Kirby Puckett would still be playing today if not for an injury. Does anyone recall him being diagnosed with glaucoma?
Once again a biased individual tries to pervert the facts and have everyone believe his fantasy about his hero, "Donnie Baseball." If Mr. Spence wants to debate whether a player deserves induction into the Hall of Fame, then using his logic there are plenty of players with lesser numbers than Kirby. How about Phil Rizzuto, Tony Lazzeri, Pee Wee Reese, etc.
SAMUEL J. CARSON