Remembrance of a Legend…

 

Where were you 30 years ago today?

 

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Well, many of you probably weren’t even born yet.  But those of us who were most likely will remember August 2, 1979…particularly Yankees fans.  The day saw the untimely demise of #15, the Yankee Captain, Thurman Munson.

 

 

As a teenage Yankees fan, Thurman had been my hero.  While I have always credited Jim “Catfish” Hunter and the legend of Lou Gehrig as the primary reasons I became a Yankees fan despite growing up in the Midwest, it was the tough and tenacious Munson that quickly became my favorite player. 

Thurman was his own man and he wouldn’t let anyone push him around.  Not George Steinbrenner, not Billy Martin, not Reggie Jackson, not Carlton Fisk.  I will always remember the 1976 World Series…not for the series sweep at the hands of the Big Red Machine but how Thurman wouldn’t quit.  He hit .529 in the series, and at one point, had six consecutive hits.  His performance laid the foundation for the championship years of 1977 and 1978. 

I had known about Thurman’s interest in airplanes, and how he viewed it as a way to reach his family in Ohio more often.  Selfishly, I was hopeful that he’d never leave the Yankees in the late 70′s/early 80′s, but I had become increasingly fearful that he would leave at the end of his contract to sign with the Cleveland Indians (to be closer to his home).  Unfortunately, I never saw that day come and will never know if Thurman would have truly left or if he would have stayed to finish his career in pinstripes.

On August 2, 1979, I was in high school and employed by a local grocery store in a small Iowa town.  I was working when one of our customers told me that they had just heard Thurman Munson was killed in an airplane crash.  I vividly recall just standing there with a blank look of disbelief frozen on my face.   My hero had just died…

 

It is a loss that I personally will never forget.  I think about Thurman every August 2nd, and I see his spirit continue to thrive in present day Yankees like Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, and Mariano Rivera.

 

Doug Kanter/AFP/Getty Images

 

Today was a day to remember Thurman and we continue to owe him a debt of gratitude for the way he wore pinstripes.  Thanks for the tremendous memories, Thurman.  You are still my hero…

 

 

For a great article about Thurman Munson, please read Moss Klein’s article in The Star Ledger, entitled Catcher Thurman Munson, The Captain, was the Heart and Soul of the NY Yankees.  It’s an excellent read.

 

YANKEES WIN…FINALLY…

The Yankees were able to beat the Chicago White Sox today, 8-5, to avoid being swept in the four game series which began last Thursday.

 

Mike Carlson/AP

Melky Cabrera became the first Yankee since Tony Fernandez in 1995 to hit for the cycle.  Melky went 4-for-5 with 4 RBI’s and 2 runs scored.  He staked the Yanks to an early lead with a three-run homer in the second inning.

 

Tannen Maury/EPA

In the 9th, needing only a tripe, Melky hit a liner off the right field wall.  Trying to do his best impression of Brett Gardner, Melky sped around the bases and just beat the relay throw to third for his first triple of the season and completed the cycle.

 

Nam Y. Huh/AP

 

It wasn’t a great game for CC Sabathia (perhaps he was still disappointed that his buddy, Victor Martinez, now calls Fenway Park home), however, he gutted it out and stayed in the game into the 8th inning.  Mark Buehrle, fresh off a perfect game just two starts ago, was the loser.

 

Nam Y. Huh/AP

 

With the win, the Yankees remain a ½ game ahead of the Boston Red Sox in the AL East.  The Red Sox throttled the Baltimore Orioles today, 18-10.

 

Nick Wass/AP 

Hey Julia, just 4 more days until the showdown resumes.  From what I can tell, the Yankees have finally figured out a way to beat a team called the Sox!  Life is good! 

With today’s game, Derek Jeter has now played in 2084 games, which ties Babe Ruth for fourth place on the list of most games played with the Yankees.

 

AP file 

 

A DAY IN SAN FRANCISCO

My wife and I attended the San Francisco Giants game against the Philadelphia Phillies today at AT&T Park.  It was a beautiful day for a game.  The weather forecast was cloudy and 59 degrees, however, after early cloudiness, it was all sunny skies and 66 degrees.  The Giants prevailed, 7-3, with Barry Zito getting the win over Cole Hamels. 

AT&T Park is one of my favorite ballparks, and today was definitely a treat…

 


 

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Okay, I did have to make sure that I kept an eye on a certain American League score…

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…but I managed to watch the Giants win a great game!

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Late in the game, a Dodgers fan walked up the stairs to leave the game.  The crowd booed and hissed unmercifully while the Dodgers fan just soaked it all in and waved his Dodgers cap with pride.  After the Dodgers fan had exited, a Boston Red Sox fan made the same exit except this time, no one said anything at all.  The Red Sox fan was ignored as he quietly left the stadium.  Ah, I love being back in the Bay Area…

 

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–Scott

5 Comments

As a Red Sox fan living in the Boston area – the death of Thurman Munson was felt deeply. Yes, there was no love lose between he and Carlton Fisk, but Red Sox fans had to admire Munson’s love of the game. His impact on the game will never be forgotten.

Great pictures from the game! Only 66? Okay – the weather might be a little more bearable on the West Coast! lol And of course they didn’t boo a Red Sox fan! Members of RSN are just loved everywhere we go that doesn’t have “New York” in its name! LOL And I’m not sure that an 1-11 record really shows that the Yankees have figured out teams named “Sox”. GAME ON SCOTT!! The Red Sox bats are hot and they are ready to send balls flying out of Yankees Stadium. I see you owing me – again! ;-)

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

So glad you got to go to a game at AT&T Park. It looks beautiful. (Nice pics!) I can’t remember if you’ve already read Marty Appel’s new biography of Munson, but if not it’s certainly worth your time. It covers a lot of his career that you already know about, but it also delves deeper into his family life and the details of the crash. Here’s hoping the Yankees take two in Toronto.

- http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

Hi, Scott …

Nice tribute in honor of our “Captain” Thurman Munson !!!
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I cannot believe it’s been 30 years already since Thurman Munson’s tragic death … I remember that sad day well, and it was a very sad day for all Yankees fans and baseball fans alike !!! … Munson was the leader of the New York Yankees, and along with Carlton Fisk and Johnny Bench, they were the best catchers of that era !!! … It is a great injustice that Thurman Munson is not in the “Hall of Fame” yet … And, since Bench and Fisk are already in the Hall, Munson also belongs with them in Cooperstown, NY !!! …
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Just like Lou Gehrig and Derek Jeter, Thurman Munson is a “true” Yankee, and, all three Yankee “captains” are the true example of what a Yankee captain should be !!! … Jeter will be a first ballot Hall of Famer when his playing days are over; I hope one day in the future, Thurman Munson will also grace the special hallowed walls of the Hall of Fame, right along side: Gehrig, Bench, Fisk, Jeter, and all the other “greats” of the game, because in my mind, there is no doubt “Thurman Munson is a Hall of Famer” !!!
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This upcoming week will be very big involving the pennant race in the AL East … I look forward to: Red Sox vs. Rays; Yankees vs. Roy “Doc” Halladay in Toronto; and, of course, the huge four-game series between the Yankees and Red sox at Yankee Stadium !!! … “Playoff Baseball In August” !!! … It will be fun to watch, as it doesn’t get much better then that !!!
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Enjoy the games this week, Scott !!!
And, I look forward to your wager with Julia … [I offered a suggestion for a possible wager between both of you, as per Julia's open request on her blog. It is open for Julia's and your consideration, so feel free to use any part of the suggestion, or not at all, if you decide on another wager] … Of course, I’ll be rooting for the Yankees !!! … The Yanks are playing much better then the last time both teams met, so I expect the 0-8 record to be reversed in the final 10 games both teams play, with the Yankees winning at least seven of these games !!! … But, let’s start with our first win in Game One [on Thursday, August 6th], and then go from there !!!
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“Go Yankees” !!!
Take care, Scott !!! … Have a great day !!!
– Jimmy 27NYY Curran, “BY&L”
http://baseballtheyankeesandlife.mlblogs.com/

Scott, I remember of Thurman’s crash quite vividly, also, even though I was relatively young at the time. Because I was a Red Sox (and Fisk) fan even at that time, I remember not liking Thurman very much. Later on I came to respect the way Thurman played the game, and it strikes me that the reason Fisk and Thurman didn’t like one another (on top of the Red Sox/ Yankees dynamic) was that they both were very much alike–gritty, hard-working, gutsy players who were the engines of their respective teams. I imagine I’d think the same way had Fisk died as Thurman did. (I also have been to that airport several times, as my wife is from Akron). On the day Thurman Munson is laid to rest today, I tip my hat in Thurman’s direction.

Laid to rest 30 years ago today, I should say. And Jimmy’s right, Munson should, like Fisk and Bench, be in the HOF. He is one of those players who, when you watched them play, you would think, “That is what a Hall of Famer looks like”. Munson belongs there.

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