New York Yankees legends Don Mattingly and Bernie Williams say they see each other maybe once a year. And of all places, the former teammates meet again in Evansville Tuesday at the Tropicana.
“I had a little bit of a rough time in the club house being a new guy,” Williams said of his early playing days in New York. “A lot of veterans gave me a lot of tough love.”
But Mattingly, who’s currently the manager of the Miami Marlins, became a mentor to the four-time World Series champ during his time in New York. Williams was a center-fielder for the Yankees from 1991 to 2006. So this time around in 2018’s “A Bronx Reunion”, Williams goes to bat for Mattingly to help under-served youth in the Tri-state.
“I think our town is growing. I see our downtown area getting better and better,” Mattingly said. “I think we all still have to keep continuing to help those kids be a part of that growth.”
This idea drove Mattingly to create Mattingly Charities, an organization that gives local kids, who may not have the same opportunities as others, a chance to immerse themselves in the community.
“Getting the call from him (Don) to help support him…and what he’s doing in the community is huge,” said Jerad Eickhoff, a Mater Dei grad who’s currently a pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies.
For some, that kind of support may be the only driving factor for success. That ideology drives straight home for Williams.
“My mother was an educator for forty years in the public education system in Puerto Rico,” Williams said. “We grew up poor. And even though she was an educator, teachers weren’t really making as much. And they’re still not. They’re the most under-rated profession ever.”
Mattingly Charities promotes development through athletic participation, social development opportunities, and educational advancement programs. Overall, Mattingly emphasized the importance of education as a top priority.
“The advancement into education, making sure they’re having the same opportunities…and access to different things,” Mattingly said. “That’s one of the things I hope our charity can continue to be a part of.”