Long before Alex Rodriguez batted his first ball, baseball superstar Don Mattingly ruled the game. He was so beloved, in fact, that fans christened him with two nicknames: "Donnie Baseball" and "The Hit Man." By the time Mattingly retired in 1996, most fans were already taking bets on when he'd be inducted into baseball's Hall of Fame.
Year after year, however, Mattingly is passed up for the honor. New York Post writer Robert A. George says it's because he's cursed. Despite all of Mattingly's success as a Yankee, George argues, the team never won a World Series while Mattingly manned first base. Following his retirement, however, the Yankees celebrated World Series victory four times. Then, in 2004 after Mattingly returned to the team as a hitting coach, the Yankees promptly bombed the last four games of the Series, losing 4-3 to the Red Sox. Further fueling curse speculation is the fact that when Mattingly left the Yankees in 2007 the team went on to cinch the 2009 World Series victory: Coincidence or curse? "In a game where superstition accounts for quite a lot, Don Mattingly is the black cat, the broken mirror and the crack in the sidewalk all rolled into one," concludes Robert George [source: Suellentrop].
Players and coaches aren't the only ones to blame for baseball's most legendary curses, however. Our next cursed team, Japan's Hanshin Tigers, blames its fans. Find out why next.