Sports Profile: Thurman Munson
world of sports was deeply shocked on August 2, 1979 when Thurman Munson
died in a plane crash in Canton, Ohio, at age 32. He was quoted as
saying: "I'm a little too belligerent. I cuss and swear at people."
Thurman Munson did have shortcomings as a person as we all do -but not
very many as a baseball player.
And he died much too soon.
On August 2, 1979, his Cessna Citation jet crash-landed just short of
the runway at Akron-Canton (Ohio) Regional Airport. Munson was killed.
The driven athlete, who made his major league debut in 1969 after
playing in just 99 games in the minors, was just 32 years old.
On September 20, 1980, his uniform Number 15 was retired and a bronze
plaque was put into Yankee Stadium Memorial Park. His locker remains
empty in perpetuity.
When Munson was appointed fifth captain in Yankee history on April 17,
1976, he said: "Maybe they made me captain because I've been here so
long. If I'm supposed to be captain by example, then I'll be a terrible
He remains especially for those who saw him play - the undisputed leader
of the exciting Yankee teams that won three American League pennants
(1976-78) and two World Championships.
A defensive presence and an expert handler of pitchers, the Ohio native
won three straight Gold Glove Awards (1973-75). From 1975-77, Thurman
drove in more than 100 runs and hit better than .300.
His 11 year Yankee career began with his winning the Rookie of the Year
honors in 1970. In 1976, he won the MVP award. A seven time All Star,
Thurman Lee Munson is not in the Hall of Fame, but a re-creation of his
locker, including spikes, glove, and jersey, are all preserved in
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Harvey Frommer is in his 38th year of writing books.
A noted oral historian and sports journalist, the author of 42 sports
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