Friday, September 17, 2010

Poster Review: Converse "Hit Man" Don Mattingly Poster

"Donnie Baseball" is one of the most beloved Yankee and MLB players of the past 30 years. He could do it all at first place and in the batters box, and did it right. The 1985 AL MVP played for the New York Yankees from 1982 - 1995, but never played in a World Series. Despite that dubious distinction, Mattingly had an exceptional career with a .307 batting average, 6 all-star selections, 9 Gold Gloves and 3 Silver Slugger Awards.

So with all that hardware, which ballot did Mattingly get selected to the Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame on? His first ballot? Maybe his second? Actually, Mattingly has not been enshrined into the Hall and it doesn't look like he'll get in any time soon. The man known as the "Hit Man" and "Donnie Baseball" has receive an average of 13.43% of the votes needed in each of the years from 2007 - 2010. A player needs 75% of the votes to get enshrined. Many detractors feel Matting was only great for a short period of time as injuries took their toll. They also site his lack of team success referring to the Yankees going to the post season in only one of Mattingly's MLB campaigns (1995). Others feel Mattingly's numbers speak for themselves as to his greatness and reference his .417 batting average in the '95 ALDS.
I'm a bit partial to any Yankee great and hope to see Mattingly enshrined down the road.

As for the Converse "Hit Man" Poster, it's a classic. This is one of the gold standards or "white whales" for poster and Yankee collectors alike. At the time, Converse was one of the largest sneaker and sporting goods companies in the world. It wasn't Nike and Reebok or Nike and Adidas, it was Nike and Converse. Converse had the likes of Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Bernard King and Don Mattingly under contract during the mid-80's. They were truly a juggernaut, and created one of the best posters the industry has ever seen.

The "Hit Man" poster is iconic and collectors know that. Many of the posters were used and it's difficult today to find one in mint condition. They do pop up on eBay (click here), but typically command a hefty price tag. If you do find an original mint condition poster, good luck as you'll no doubt have fierce competition on e-marketplaces like eBay.

Although Converse came up with a great campaign for Mattingly with the "Hit Man" poster, their business relationship did not last. By the late 80's Mattingly was a passenger on the Nike express. Here's a Footlocker commercial with Mattingly donning some Nike gear:

So, did you have a Don "Hit Man" Mattingly poster on your wall as a kid or even today, and do you think Mattingly should be enshrined in the Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame?

- Can't get enough poster reviews, click here to read previous Poster Review posts and… "Enjoy Every Bounce of the Ball".


  1. I've never seen that poster... but I'll be honest if I had one growing up... it would have been given away or thrown in the trash. I grew up an A's fan... and the Yankees were enemy #1.

    As for the Hit Man, there's no arguing that the guy could hit. He was one of the elite players during the mid 80's. I'm not sure if he'll ever make it into Cooperstown, but if he didn't I wouldn't object. This guy could do just about anything with a bat or a glove.

    I still remember him clobbering all of those grand slams in 1987. Later I found out that he never hit one again in his career. If I had a vote, I'd say let him in. After he retired, I started admiring him for being loyal to the Yankees.

  2. Love that poster. Brings back memories.

    Hate him as the new Dodger manager.

  3. Yeah, I'm torn about whether he should be in the HOF or not, because I'm so biased as a Yankee fan. No wait… he def needs to be in the Hall. No question!!!

  4. I have 2 of them, very rare! 812) 483-3523. Will ship

  5. They printed this poster in 84 and 85. Both by converse. The 84 was the batting champ and the 85 was the MVP version. Both are original 17 by 30in posters, in great shape. Call me at 812) 483-3523. Thanks,