Thurman Munson (7 June 1947, Akron, OH — 2 August 1979, Summit County, OH)
I had never heard of Thurman Munson until a couple of years ago. I was far too late.
Munson was an amazing catcher and leader for the New York Yankees in the late 1970s. A first round pick (4th overall) in the 1968 amateur draft, he was brought up to the majors in the 1969 season. The first team captain since Lou Gehrig, he was called by many the “heart and soul” of the team. Under his leadership the Yankees went to 3 consecutive World Series (1976-1978) and won the ‘77 and ‘78 World Series.
Munson won many awards while he was in the Majors. Rookie of the Year in 1970, a SEVEN time All-Star (1971, 1973-1978), the 1976 AL MVP, and finally, his #15 was retired by the New York Yankees.
Tragically, Munson died on 2 August 1979. He was a private pilot and was flying his own plane when it crashed. He was flying back to Ohio from New York to be with his family.
His career stats were 1,558 hits, 701 RBI, .292 AVG, .756 OPS, and average WAR of 4.18 over 10 full seasons (11 partial).
Happy Birthday, Cap.