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Don Mattingly Takes Time to Spread Christmas Cheer to Chemo Patients

Don Mattingly shares a laugh with a chemo patient. (Johnny Kincaid)

Yesterday I had the pleasure of spending some time with Don Mattingly as he visited cancer patients with Chemo Buddies.

His mother, who died from cancer, had chemo and that is one of the reasons he agreed to visit with Chemo Buddies and our patients.

First of all, I want you to know that “Donnie Baseball” is a class act. He was kind and gracious and he made every person he spoke to feel valued.

Don’s midwest upbringing defines who he is today. He told many stories of growing up with his brothers – playing in fields, brotherly hijinx, playing all sports together, eating rabbit at his grandpa’s and thinking it was chicken, and so on.

Don talks to a chemo patient. (johnny Kincaid)

He calls Evansville home and lives here when he isn’t working. When he is working, he lives on the beach near LA. (He does not live in that house on Darmstadt road anymore… many people asked about that)

Several people asked why he retired from baseball at a young age. The answer was that his boys needed their dad. He quit the Yankees and came home for his sons because they needed him. Once they were older, he went back to the Yankees, (as a coach) and is currently manager of the LA Dodgers.

Chemo Buddies founder Jill Kincaid with Don Mattingly. (Johnny Kincaid)

Don’s philosophy as a manager is to create a positive work environment and respect the players. First you create a great place to work and then you let the talent take you the rest of the way. He loves working for Dodgers owner Magic Johnson because he is a former athlete that understands athletes.

As we parted yesterday he was on his way to Walmart to buy his grandson a tricycle. You know, just an everyday regular guy doing his own shopping at Walmart…

During his visit, Don autographed some baseball for Chemo Buddies to sell as a fundraiser. If you’re still looking for a gift for a sports fan, the detailss are on the Chemo Buddies Facebook page.

(Johnny Kincaid)

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