Thursday, August 03, 2006


One of my all time favorite baseball players and one I always considered my boyhood hero was Thurman Munson. My baseball life really started when he was the Captain and the Yankees were on top of the world (77-79). Those are the Yankees I remember as a child, going to games, watching on a little black and white TV, listening to on the radio. My grandfather (on my Dad's side) was an incredible Yankees fan and he always had the game on the TV when we went over. The game stayed on and he watched it and when it was over he would then visit with us. I remember my Nana saying "Grandpa's in the living room, the Yankees are on."

Thurman Munson was the old time cool guy. He was the catcher, the Captain (first since Gehrig but I did not know the significance then), he had the cool mustache and looked awesome in the catchers gear. And boy could he hit.

On August 2nd, 1979, while flying his own plane, he crashed and died. He was with 2 others and they tried to get him out of the cockpit but the fuel exploded and they were driven back. I remember I had clipped the Daily News the next few days as the ran stories on him and recently I purchased his autobiography, written that year, on eBay for a few bucks. He was the man I thought he was as a kid. Tough, but kind; driven and intelligent; and the only reason he was on that plane was so that he could visit his family in Canton, OH on a Yankee off day. He did not want his kids to be Baseball Kids and only see dad once in awhile. He was a family man and loved them more than baseball. I lost my hero that day in 79, and the Yankees lost a great catcher and Captain, and 2 kids and a wife lost their Dad and Husband. Fortunately I now have a model to show my son, the type of person one can be with talent and money and smarts and still be happy with just sitting in the backyard playing with the kids!


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