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Encyclopedia > Thurman Munson
Thurman Munson
Catcher
Born: June 7, 1947
Died: August 2, 1979 (aged 32)
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
August 8, 1969
for the New York Yankees
Final game
August 1, 1979
for the New York Yankees
Career statistics
Batting average     .292
Hits     1558
RBIs     701
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Thurman Lee Munson (June 7, 1947August 2, 1979) was an American catcher in Major League Baseball who played with the New York Yankees from 1969 to 1979. Munson was killed at age 32 while trying to land his personal airplane. The position of the catcher Catcher is also a general term for a fielder who catches the ball in cricket. ... June 7 is the 158th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (159th in leap years), with 207 days remaining. ... Year 1947 (MCMXLVII) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display full 1947 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 214th day of the year (215th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Also: 1979 by Smashing Pumpkins. ... is the 220th day of the year (221st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The following are the baseball events of the year 1969 throughout the world. ... Major league affiliations American League (1901–present) East Division (1969–present) Current uniform Retired Numbers 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 23, 32, 37, 44, 49 Name New York Yankees (1913–present) New York Highlanders (1903-1912) Baltimore Orioles (1901-1902) (Also referred to as... is the 213th day of the year (214th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The following are the baseball events of the year 1979 throughout the world. ... Major league affiliations American League (1901–present) East Division (1969–present) Current uniform Retired Numbers 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 23, 32, 37, 44, 49 Name New York Yankees (1913–present) New York Highlanders (1903-1912) Baltimore Orioles (1901-1902) (Also referred to as... Batting average is a statistic in both cricket and baseball measuring the performance of cricket batsmen and baseball hitters, respectively. ... In Major League Baseball history, Ty Cobb had a record 4,191 hits by 1928; Pete Rose would surpass it 57 years later, and finish with 4,256 career hits. ... In baseball statistics, a run batted in (RBI) is given to a batter for each run scored as the result of a batters plate appearance. ... Major league affiliations American League (1901–present) East Division (1969–present) Current uniform Retired Numbers 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 23, 32, 37, 44, 49 Name New York Yankees (1913–present) New York Highlanders (1903-1912) Baltimore Orioles (1901-1902) (Also referred to as... The following are the baseball events of the year 1969 throughout the world. ... The following are the baseball events of the year 1979 throughout the world. ... The Major League Baseball All-Star Game, also popularly known as the Midsummer Classic, is an annual baseball game between players from the National League and the American League, currently selected by fan vote for the starting position players and by the respective managers (from the previous years World... In Major League Baseball, the Rookie of the Year Award is given to the best first-year players in the American and National Leagues. ... In the game of baseball, both amateur and professional, it is tradition to annually recognize the one player in the league who has contributed the most to the success of the players team. ... In American baseball, the Rawlings Gold Glove Award, usually referred to simply as the Gold Glove, is the award annually given to the Major League player judged to be the most superior individual fielding performance at each position (in each league), as voted by the managers and coaches in each... Henry Louis (Lou) Gehrig (June 19, 1903 – June 2, 1941), born Ludwig Heinrich Gehrig, was an American baseball player in the first half of the twentieth century. ... June 7 is the 158th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (159th in leap years), with 207 days remaining. ... Year 1947 (MCMXLVII) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display full 1947 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 214th day of the year (215th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Also: 1979 by Smashing Pumpkins. ... The position of the catcher Catcher is also a general term for a fielder who catches the ball in cricket. ... Major League Baseball (MLB) is the highest level of play in North American professional baseball. ... Major league affiliations American League (1901–present) East Division (1969–present) Current uniform Retired Numbers 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 23, 32, 37, 44, 49 Name New York Yankees (1913–present) New York Highlanders (1903-1912) Baltimore Orioles (1901-1902) (Also referred to as... The following are the baseball events of the year 1969 throughout the world. ... The following are the baseball events of the year 1979 throughout the world. ...

Contents

Life and career

Born in Akron, Ohio to Darrell Vernon Munson and Ruth Myrna Smylie, Thurman grew up in nearby Canton. He graduated from Lehman High School in Canton, where he earned scholarship offers from various colleges due to his standout performances in football, basketball and baseball;[1] Munson opted to attend nearby Kent State University on scholarship, where he was a teammate of pitcher and broadcaster Steve Stone. At Kent, Munson joined the Delta Upsilon fraternity. In Sep 1968 he married Diane Dominick at St. Paul's Parish, Canton. Nickname: The Rubber Capital of the World Location within the state of Ohio Country United States State Ohio County Summit Founded 1825 Incorporated 1835 (village) - 1865 (city) Government  - Mayor Don Plusquellic (D) Area  - City  62. ... Canton is a city in Stark County, Ohio, United States. ... Kent State University (also known as Kent, Kent State or KSU) is a major public research university located in Kent, Ohio, United States, which is about 40 miles southeast of Cleveland, 12 miles east of Akron, and 30 miles west of Youngstown. ... Steven Michael Stone (born July 14, 1947 in Euclid, Ohio) is a former American Major League Baseball player and current sportscaster. ... Delta Upsilon (ΔΥ) is one of the oldest international, all-male, college, Greek-letter social fraternities and is the first non-secret fraternity ever founded. ...


Munson was selected by the Yankees with the fourth pick in the first round of the 1968 amateur draft. In the minor leagues, he caught for the Binghamton Triplets in their final (1968) season. He was named the American League Rookie of the Year in 1970 after batting .302 with seven home runs and 57 RBI, and making 80 assists. In 1976, he was voted the American League MVP after batting .302 with 17 home runs and 105 RBI, and stealing 14 bases. He is the only Yankee ever to win both the Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player awards. The Binghamton Triplets were a minor league affiliate of the New York Yankees (1932-1961, 1965-1968); the team also had brief affiliations with the Kansas City Athletics (1962-1963) and the Milwaukee Braves (1964). ... In Major League Baseball, the Rookie of the Year Award is given to the best first-year players in the American and National Leagues. ... The following are the baseball events of the year 1970 throughout the world. ... Batting average is a statistic in both cricket and baseball measuring the performance of cricket batsmen and baseball hitters, respectively. ... This article is about the baseball concept. ... In baseball statistics, a run batted in (RBI) is given to a batter for each run scored as the result of a batters plate appearance. ... This article is currently under construction // This year in baseball Events January 14 - Ted Turner completes the purchase of 100 percent of the Atlanta Braves. ... American League The American League (or formally the American League of Professional Baseball Clubs) is one of two leagues that make up Major League Baseball in the United States of America and Canada. ... In the game of baseball, both amateur and professional, it is tradition to annually recognize the one player in the league who has contributed the most to the success of the players team. ...


An outstanding fielder, Munson made only one error while behind the plate in 1971 (he was knocked unconscious by a runner, dislodging the ball), and went on to win three straight Gold Glove Awards starting in 1973. A seven-time All-Star, Munson hit 113 home runs, batted in 701 runners, and had a career batting average of .292 over his 10-year career. He was also the first captain named by the Yankees since Lou Gehrig. Munson helped lead his team to three consecutive World Series (1976–78), where he batted a remarkable .373 overall (.339 in the American League Championship Series. From 1975-77, Munson hit .300 or better with 100 or more RBI each year, becoming the first catcher to accomplish the feat in three consecutive years since Yankee Hall of Famer Bill Dickey did it four straight seasons from 1936-39. Since Munson's run, Mike Piazza has also accomplished it (1996-98). In American baseball, the Rawlings Gold Glove Award, usually referred to simply as the Gold Glove, is the award annually given to the Major League player judged to be the most superior individual fielding performance at each position (in each league), as voted by the managers and coaches in each... The Major League Baseball All-Star Game, also popularly known as the Midsummer Classic, is an annual baseball game between players from the National League and the American League, currently selected by fan vote for the starting position players and by the respective managers (from the previous years World... In team sports, a captain is an honorary title given to the member of the team primarily responsible for strategy and teamwork while the game is in progress on the field. ... Henry Louis (Lou) Gehrig (June 19, 1903 – June 2, 1941), born Ludwig Heinrich Gehrig, was an American baseball player in the first half of the twentieth century. ... For other events named World Series, see World Series (disambiguation). ... In Major League Baseball, the American League Championship Series (ALCS), played in October, is a playoff round that determines the winner of the American League pennant. ... William Malcolm Dickey (June 6, 1907 - November 12, 1993) was a Major League Baseball player and manager. ... Michael Joseph Piazza (born September 4, 1968 in Norristown, Pennsylvania, USA) is a U.S. Major League Baseball player for the Oakland Athletics. ...


In the 1976 World Series, Munson batted .529 and collected six consecutive hits to tie a World Series record set by Goose Goslin of the Washington Senators in 1925, (also in a losing effort). After this hitting performance, which included a 4-for-4 night in the final game at Yankee Stadium, Reds manager Sparky Anderson was asked by a reporter to compare Munson with his catcher, future Hall of Famer Johnny Bench. Anderson's comment at the post-World Series press conference — "Don't ever embarrass nobody by comparing him to Johnny Bench" — may have been a tribute to his great player, but it angered Munson.[1] The 1976 World Series matched the defending champion Cincinnati Reds of the National League against the New York Yankees of the American League, with the Reds sweeping the Series to repeat. ... Leon Allen Goslin (October 16, 1900 – May 15, 1971), better known as Goose Goslin, was a left fielder in Major League Baseball known for his powerful left-handed swing and dependable clutch hitting. ... Major league affiliations American League (1901–present) Central Division (1994–present) Current uniform Retired Numbers 3, 6, 14, 29, 34, 42 Name Minnesota Twins (1961–present) Washington Nationals/Senators (1901-1960) Other nicknames The Twinkies Ballpark Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome 1982-present Metropolitan Stadium (1961-1981) Griffith Stadium (1903-1960... The Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Washington Senators in 7 games. ... Sparky Anderson George Lee Sparky Anderson (born February 22, 1934 in Bridgewater, South Dakota) is fifth on the all-time list for career managerial wins in Major League Baseball (behind Connie Mack, John McGraw, Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox) and is the first manager to win the World Series... The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, located at 62 Main Street in Cooperstown, New York, is a semi-official museum operated by private interests serving as the central point for the study of the history of baseball in the United States and beyond, the display of baseball-related... John Lee Bench (born December 7, 1947 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma), is a former baseball player for the Cincinnati Reds from 1967 to 1983, and is widely regarded as one of the greatest catchers in Major League Baseball history. ...


Munson also maintained a feud with the other top catcher in the American League in the 1970s, Carlton Fisk of the Boston Red Sox. Fisk's ability to play until he was 45 years old (despite missing time in many seasons due to injuries) allowed him to build up career statistics that far exceeded Munson's. Many of those numbers came while Fisk was with the Chicago White Sox. Carlton Ernest Pudge Fisk (born December 26, 1947 in Bellows Falls, Vermont) is a former Major League Baseball catcher who played for 24 years with the Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox. ... Major league affiliations American League (1901–present) East Division (1969–present) Current uniform Retired Numbers 1, 4, 8, 9, 27, 42 Name Boston Red Sox (1908–present) Boston Americans (1901-1907) Other nicknames The BoSox, The Olde Towne Team, The Sox Ballpark Fenway Park (1912–present) Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds...


Munson batted .320 with a home run in the 1977 World Series, in which the Yankees defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers four games to two. In Game 3 of the 1978 American League Championship Series, with the Yankees tied a game apiece with the Kansas City Royals and trailing 5-4 in the bottom of the eighth inning, he hit the longest home run of his career, a 475-foot (145-meter) shot off Doug Bird over Yankee Stadium's Monument Park in left-center field, to give the Yankees a 6-5 win. They won the pennant the next day, and in the World Series against the Dodgers, Munson caught a pop-up by Ron Cey for the final out. 1977 World Series Logo The 1977 World Series matched the New York Yankees against the Los Angeles Dodgers, with the Yankees winning in six games to capture their first title since 1962, and their 21st overall. ... Major league affiliations National League (1890–present) West Division (1969–present) Current uniform Retired Numbers 1, 2, 4, 19, 20, 24, 32, 39, 42, 53 Name Los Angeles Dodgers (1958–present) Brooklyn Dodgers (1932-1957) Brooklyn Robins (1914-1931) Brooklyn Dodgers (1911-1912) Brooklyn Superbas (1899-1910), (1913) Brooklyn Grooms... In Major League Baseball, the American League Championship Series (ALCS), played in October, is a playoff round that determines the winner of the American League pennant. ... Major league affiliations American League (1969–present) Central Division (1994–present) Current uniform Retired Numbers 5, 10, 20, 42 Name Kansas City Royals (1969–present) Other nicknames The Boys in Blue Ballpark Kauffman Stadium (1973–present) a. ... This is about the stadium the New York Yankees currently play in. ... Ronald Charles (Ron) Cey (born February 15, 1948 in Tacoma, Washington, a graduate of Mount Tahoma High School) is a former third baseman in Major League Baseball who played for the Los Angeles Dodgers (1971-82), Chicago Cubs (1983-86) and Oakland Athletics (1987). ...


Death and legacy

Munson was frequently homesick, and took flying lessons so that he could fly home to his family in Canton on off-days. On August 2, 1979, he was practicing takeoffs and landings in his new Cessna Citation I/SP jet at the Akron-Canton Regional Airport. On the third touch-and-go, Munson failed to lower the flaps for landing and allowed the aircraft to sink too low before increasing engine power, causing the jet to clip a tree and fall short of the runway. The plane then hit a tree stump and burst into flames, killing Munson (who was trapped inside) and injuring two other companions. It is believed that the inability to get out of the plane, and the ensuing asphyxiation, is what killed Munson, rather than injuries sustained on impact or burns (the two passengers survived). He was 32 years old.[2] is the 214th day of the year (215th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Also: 1979 by Smashing Pumpkins. ... The Cessna Citation is a marketing name used by Cessna for its lines of business jets. ... FAA diagram of Akron-Canton Airport Akron-Canton Airport (IATA: CAK, ICAO: KCAK) is a commercial Class C airport located in southern Summit County, Ohio (a very small portion of both runways extend into Stark County,) roughly 10 miles southeast of Akron, Ohio, and roughly 10 miles northwest of Canton... Touch-and-Go is a term used in many ways: TaG engines are kart engines which have an electric starter motor and so dont have to be pushed like many other varieties. ... Flaps are hinged surfaces on the trailing edge of an airplane wing which, when deployed, increase the lift (and drag) of a wing by changing the camber of the airfoil. ... Asphyxia is a condition of severely deficient supply of oxygen to the body. ...


Munson's sudden death was major news across the nation and especially sorrowed the baseball community. Munson was survived by his wife, Diana, and their three children. The day after his death, before the start of the Yankees' four-game set with the Baltimore Orioles in the Bronx, the Yankees paid tribute to their fallen captain in a pre-game ceremony during which the starters stood at their defensive positions, save for the catcher's box, which remained empty. At the conclusion of Robert Merrill's musical selection, the fans (announced attendance 51,151) burst into a 10-minute standing ovation. Major league affiliations American League (1901–present) East Division (1969–present) Current uniform Retired Numbers 4, 5, 8, 20, 22, 33, 42 Name Baltimore Orioles (1954–present) St. ... Robert Merrill (June 4, 1917 – October 23, 2004) was an American opera baritone. ...


Four days later, on August 6, the entire Yankee team attended his funeral in Canton, Ohio. Lou Piniella and Bobby Murcer, who were Munson's best friends as well as teammates, gave moving eulogies. That night (in front of a national viewing audience on ABC's Monday Night Baseball) the Yankees beat the Orioles 5-4 in New York, with Murcer driving in all five runs with a three-run home run in the seventh inning and a two-run single in the bottom of the ninth.[3] is the 218th day of the year (219th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Louis Victor Piniella (born August 28, 1943, in Tampa, Florida) is the current manager of the Chicago Cubs and a former Major League Baseball outfielder. ... Bobby Ray Murcer (born May 20, 1946, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) was a professional baseball player for 17 seasons. ... Major League Baseball on ABCs Wide World of Sports. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


Immediately following Munson's death, Yankee owner George Steinbrenner announced that his uniform number 15 was being retired. On September 20, 1980, a plaque was dedicated in Munson's memory and placed in Monument Park. The plaque bears excerpts from an inscription composed by Steinbrenner and flashed on the Stadium scoreboard the day after his death: George Michael Steinbrenner III (born July 4, 1930 in Rocky River, Ohio), often known as The Boss, is an American businessman and the principal owner of Major League Baseballs New York Yankees. ... In 1929, the New York Yankees and the Cleveland Indians began using uniform numbers so fans and scorekeepers could tell who was who on the field. ... is the 263rd day of the year (264th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... This article is currently under construction // This year in baseball Events January 9 - Al Kaline and Duke Snider are elected to the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers Association of America. ... The entrance to the monuments and plaques, at the end of the retired numbers display. ...

Our captain and leader has not left us, today, tomorrow, this year, next ... Our endeavors will reflect our love and admiration for him.

To this day, despite a packed clubhouse, an empty locker to the right of Derek Jeter's, with Munson's number 15 on it, remains as a tribute to the Yankees' lost catcher. The original locker that Munson used, along with a bronzed set of his catching equipment, was donated to the Baseball Hall of Fame (Munson himself is not in the Hall, generally considered by most sportswriters to be a "borderline" candidate at best due to the brevity of his career). His number 15 is also displayed on the center field wall at Thurman Munson Stadium, a minor-league ballpark in Canton. Munson is buried at Canton's Sunset Hills Burial Park. The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, located at 62 Main Street in Cooperstown, New York, is a semi-official museum operated by private interests serving as the central point for the study of the history of baseball in the United States and beyond, the display of baseball-related... Thurman Munson Memorial Stadium is a stadium in Canton, Ohio. ...


Thurman is one of three notable Yankees who died in aviation accidents, including pitchers Jim Hardin in 1991 and Cory Lidle in 2006. James Warren Hardin (August 6, 1943—March 9, 1991) was a professional baseball player for the Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees, and Atlanta Braves from 1967 through 1973. ... Cory Fulton Lidle (March 22, 1972 – October 11, 2006) was an American right-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball. ...


References

  1. ^ All Roads Lead to October (chapter 10) by Maury Allen, St. Martin's Press 2000 ISBN 0-312-26175-6
  2. ^ ibid., chapter 10, reprinted at ThurmanMunson.com history page
  3. ^ Retrosheet

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Thurman Munson - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1010 words)
Munson was killed in an airplane accident at age 32.
Munson was selected by the Yankees with the fourth pick in the first round of the 1968 amateur draft.
Munson is buried at Canton's Sunset Hills Burial Park.
TheDeadballEra.com :: THE DEADBALL ERA: THURMAN MUNSON BIO (679 words)
Thurman Munson was born on June 6th, 1947 in Akron, Ohio.
Munson's power was hindered at first by Yankee Stadium's gigantic left field dimensions, the infamous "Death Valley." He did hit for average and usually batted second in his early years.
Munson thinks he can be the straw that stirs the drink but he can only stir it bad." Later in the season things were smoothed over, but the relationship was never again the same.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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