The Hit Man turns down a prize earned one year too late1996 New York Yankees World Championship Ring Presented to Don Mattingly. We can understand and respect both sides of the story. For fourteen seasons, Don Mattingly had been one of the brightest lights in the Yankee darkness, a stalwart superstar with the misfortune of wearing pinstripes during the longest World Championship drought since Babe Ruth led the team to its first in 1923. He assembled an impressive trophy case during that long term of Bronx service, a 1985 American League MVP Award, nine Gold Gloves and three Silver Sluggers, but never the most coveted hardware of all.
So when the Yanks ended the drought in Mattingly's first season of retirement, the front office rather fittingly chose to honor its faithful warrior with the World Championship ring presented here. And Donnie Baseball, with a similar exhibition of respect for the game and himself, chose to refuse it.
And now, nearly twenty years later, that ring will finally find a finger, the special relic consigned to this Platinum Night auction by a member of the Yankees front office during that memorable 1996 season. This is the top-of-the-line player format owned by the likes of Derek Jeter and Wade Boggs, with the logo "NY" crafted from real diamonds and set into a blue stone on the face. "1996 World Champions" stands in raised lettering at the perimeter.
Left shank features the World Series trophy in miniature with the words, "Courage" and "Heart," as well as the honored recipient's surname. Right shank frames the famous bat and hat team logo between a figural Yankee Stadium facade and the word "Tradition." Interior band is stamped "LGB 14K" and measures to a size eleven and a half. Pristine condition, in original wooden display case.
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