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Sports Profile:  Thurman Munson

The 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 captain"

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 Cooperstown.

 

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You can reach Harvey Frommer at:   

Email:  harvey.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU 

About the Author:

Harvey Frommer is in his  38th year of writing books. A noted oral historian and sports journalist, the author of 42 sports books including the classics: "New York City Baseball,1947-1957" and "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," his acclaimed REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM was published in 2008 and his REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK: AN ORAL AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE HOME OF RED SOX NATION was published to acclaim in 2011.  The prolific Frommer is at work on When It Was Just a Game, An Oral History on Super Bowel One. 

His work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, New York Daily News, Newsday, USA Today, Men's Heath, The Sporting News, among other publications.

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Harvey Frommer along with his wife, Myrna Katz  Frommer are the authors of five critically acclaimed oral/cultural histories, professors at Dartmouth  College, and travel writers who specialize in cultural history, food, wine, and Jewish history and heritage in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. 

This Article is Copyright 1995 - 2014 by Harvey Frommer.  All rights reserved worldwide.

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