Mattingly was an old-school baseball man to whom a handshake meant everything. He was a straight-talking, no-nonsense, blue-collar man with a sense of generosity, whether he was sharing a bag of sunflower seeds up in the pressbox or donating his time to his baseball team.His efforts often took the form of physical labor at the stadium to keep the Bucs going. As general manager of the team, his job duties included driving the team bus, answering phones, recruiting players, fixing anything that broke and mowing and watering the outfield.
Mattingly started the Bucs in 1980 as an adult baseball team called the Cook Inlet Bucs. A year later, thanks to Mattingly's efforts, the team earned membership in the Alaska Baseball League.Since then, Mattingly and the Bucs have brought such talents as Jered Weaver, Jeff Kent and C.J. Wilson to Alaska for the summer. Under Mattingly the Bucs won 7 ABL titles and sent 59 players to the big leagues while bringing a handful of teams to the NBC World Series.
In 2000, Mattingly was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, an incurable form of cancer that attacks the immune system and makes bones brittle.
The life expectancy for those with the disease is five years, but thanks in part to two life-extending stem-cell transplants, Mattingly lived for more than a decade after his diagnosis before his passing in January.
"This game, if you don't accept failure before you even start playing, you're in trouble. Here you can be on top of the world one day and be underneath the dirt the next. It teaches you to take what comes," Mattingly said at a game last summer. "I've been through quite a bit these last several years and I'm not gonna let it get me down, because I'm not gonna dwell on things that might go wrong."
On behalf of the NBC it is an honor to present the NBC Hall of Fame plaque to Sandra Mattingly, the widow of Dennis, as Dennis Mattingly is the newest member of the National Baseball Congress Hall of Fame.