Before Wednesday's series finale in Minnesota, the Dodgers manager talked about how he got that nickname, from one of the Twins' all-time greats, Kirby Puckett.
"I'm not quite sure why it stuck. ... Kirby got it started," Mattingly said. "The way he gets going and gets talking, he's talking about 'Baseball, baseball, Donnie Baseball, baseball.'"
Mattingly said Puckett coined the name at an annual banquet in Rochester, N.Y., held by former Major League umpire Ken Kaiser to benefit an orphanage. The banquet was well-attended by players, and Mattingly recalled seeing Nolan Ryan, George Brett, Mark McGwire, Jim Leyland and Don Zimmer there, among others.
Beyond getting his nickname from the Twins Hall of Famer, Mattingly said he had a good relationship with Puckett.
"You really respect the way Kirby played the game; he played hard," Mattingly said. "From that standpoint, yeah. Not necessarily going out to dinner and things like that, but [we had] a good relationship from the standpoint of camaraderie amongst players."