Miller: Happy 58th birthday to Don Mattingly … or is it Happy 59th?

From Sam Miller at on April 29, 2020, with mention of SABR members Bill Carle and the late Bill Haber:

Last summer, Mark Arduini was unemployed and struggling to motivate himself to fill out job applications. So he went to a local card shop, bought a box of 24 unopened packs of 1987 Topps and bribed himself: He could open one for each application completed.

As he was flipping through one pack, he came across card No. 500, Don Mattingly. On the back, under Mattingly’s career stats and above a line of baseball trivia, Arduini read the one-line Mattingly bio. It was a jaw-dropping scoop: “Don’s birth certificate states he was born in 1962, not 1961 as shown in most baseball records.”

The birthdate at the bottom of the card is also 4-20-62, and if you look closely, you can see that the “62” is slightly off-line. The first draft of the card, it appears, had used the ’61 common to most baseball records. One imagines a “Stop the presses!” moment at the Topps factory, as the correct year was apparently fixed by hand.

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Originally published: April 29, 2020. Last Updated: April 29, 2020.