Looking back at the time Don Mattingly and Torey Lovullo were teammates

The Miami Marlins and Arizona Diamondbacks finished their season series on Thursday, which means we’ll have to wait until next year to see Don Mattingly and Torey Lovullo on opposite dugouts.

There was a time when the two rival managers were teammates. Lovullo played 22 games with Mattingly and the New York Yankees in 1991.

Lovullo was a utility infielder who played a total of 41 games over two seasons with the Detroit Tigers in 1989-90 before being traded to the Yankees for pitcher Mark Leiter.

Even though his career marked the duration of the Yankees’ longest World Series drought, Mattingly was a superstar in New York on his way to a legendary career.

“He’s probably one of the best teammates that I ever had,” Lovullo said. “He was obviously a superstar but he made me feel as comfortable as a veteran when I was a rookie.”

As an example of Mattingly’s calm, cool and collected leadership style, Lovullo recalled a time when he embarrassed himself with a routine throw from third base to first base gone wrong.

“I remember one time I threw a ball to him at first base,” Lovullo said, “and it was an awful throw. Upon releasing the ball, it kind of slipped out of my hand and went into the stands over his head. I asked him, ‘How come you didn’t go after the ball?’ He said to me, ‘Torey, that was one of the worst throws anyone has ever thrown to me across the diamond. I had no chance at catching that ball.’ It made me laugh and took the edge off of me.”

“I would tell guys that if you throw it over my head, I have no chance at catching it,” Mattingly said, vaguely remembering that moment in baseball history.

Lovullo played a total of 303 over the course of 10 seasons (1989-99) with two spent exclusively in the minor leagues and over a third of that total occurring in 1993 with Angels.

Since then, Lovullo has worked his way towards a respectable managerial career. While he and Mattingly may have been at polar opposites of the WAR spectrum as players, they are contemporaries as managers. Lovullo was named National League Manager of the Year after leading the Diamondbacks to the playoffs in his first year at the helm.

After a scorching hot stretch in which Arizona are 21-8 since May 28, with more runs this month than anyone else in baseball, the D-backs look like World Series contenders.

 

 

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