It was in 1984, the former Yankee's first full season in the Major Leagues. He would go on to win a batting title that season, while leading the league in hits and doubles at age 23, and finish fifth in AL MVP Award voting.
But what Mattingly remembers best about that first All-Star Game appearance happened in the AL clubhouse.
"I know my favorite memory was in 1984 and I was selected to my first game 1984 in San Francisco at old Candlestick Park," Mattingly recalled.
"Rod Carew was on the team, and he was my favorite player as a kid growing up. I don't know if he knew that or he read an article saying that or what, but he signed a bat and gave it to me, and I still have it to this day. That's my favorite All-Star Game memory."
Eventual Hall of Famer Carew started that All-Star Game at first base for the AL. Mattingly was one of three first-base reserves, along with Eddie Murray and Alvin Davis. Mattingly flied out as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning of a 3-1 loss.
The 2012 All-Star Game will be played at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City on Tuesday, July 10. Come to MLB.com for extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.The 83rd All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and Sirius XM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com or royals.com/asg.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.