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Thread: Remembering the Captain - Thurman Munson

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    Remembering the Captain - Thurman Munson

    Today marks the 31st anniversary Thurman Munson's tragic death. I wrote this for the thirtieth anniversary last year and posted it in a Yankees blog called Sliding Into Home.

    Remembering The Captain

    Iím forty four years old. That means that thirty years ago today, I was a fourteen year old kid. And like a lot of fourteen year old kids, I loved baseball. But not just any baseball... Yankee baseball.

    What a great time it was to be a Yankee fan. The Yanks had just gone to the World Series three years in a row and had won the last two. Like every kid, I had a hero. Mine was Thurman Munson. I played Babe Ruth baseball and was a catcher, just like Thurman. What was not to like about this guy? He played hard and looked as tough as nails. In his three World Series appearances, he batted .529 in 1976 and .320 in both 1977 and 1978.

    During our lives, there are certain moments that that are burned into our minds. For me, one of the biggest was the knock on my door on August 2, 1979. I opened the door and there was my neighbor Steve. I remember the moment as if it were yesterday. He just blurted out ďThurman Munson is dead.Ē

    It was like a punch in the stomach. I felt like I couldnít breathe. My eyes instantly welled up with tears and I yelled back at him; ďNO HE ISNĒT!Ē and I slammed the door in his face. I ran to my room and started to cry.

    Heroes donít die. They canít.

    I remember thinking that maybe Steve was wrong. Thatís it! He had to be wrong. News back in 1979 wasnít like it is today. There wasnít any ESPN. No 24 hour news stations. I turned on the one tv we had in the house and there was nothing about it. I turned on the radio. WMCA used to carry the Yankees in the 70ís and I donít recall if it was on that station or another that I finally heard that it was true. I went back in my room and cried some more.

    I remember watching the game a few nights later on August 6th, the day of Thurmanís funeral. It was ABCís Monday Night Baseball. Howard Cosell said incredibly kind words about Munson. The Yankees, being the classy organization that they are, left home plate open before the game. Yankee fans everywhere were in pain.

    And then some magic happened.

    Yankee magic.

    Bobby Murcer, who had earlier in the day given a eulogy at Thurmanís funeral, somehow managed to deliver some happiness on a day when none seemed possible. With the Yankees trailing 4-0, Murcer hit a 3 run homer in the 7th and then a walk off 2 run single in the bottom of the ninth.

    What other team besides the Yankees has this sort of magic happen? The player delivers the eulogy at his teammate / best friendís funeral and then, later the same day, with his team down by four runs, goes out and drives in all five of his teamís runs including two of them in the bottom of the ninth to win the game. Seriously, you canít make this stuff up.

    I remember cheering. Yankee fans everywhere were cheering. They won one for the Captain and in doing so, began the heeling.

    I still love the Yankees and they have brought me so many great memories over the years. They have won more championships and had so many great players. But I only have one official Yankee jersey and on the back is the number 15.

    Iíve never had another baseball hero since August 2, 1979.

    The one I had then never needed replacing.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by crossfire View Post
    Today marks the 31st anniversary Thurman Munson's tragic death. I wrote this for the thirtieth anniversary last year and posted it in a Yankees blog called Sliding Into Home.

    Remembering The Captain

    Iím forty four years old. That means that thirty years ago today, I was a fourteen year old kid. And like a lot of fourteen year old kids, I loved baseball. But not just any baseball... Yankee baseball.

    What a great time it was to be a Yankee fan. The Yanks had just gone to the World Series three years in a row and had won the last two. Like every kid, I had a hero. Mine was Thurman Munson. I played Babe Ruth baseball and was a catcher, just like Thurman. What was not to like about this guy? He played hard and looked as tough as nails. In his three World Series appearances, he batted .529 in 1976 and .320 in both 1977 and 1978.

    During our lives, there are certain moments that that are burned into our minds. For me, one of the biggest was the knock on my door on August 2, 1979. I opened the door and there was my neighbor Steve. I remember the moment as if it were yesterday. He just blurted out ďThurman Munson is dead.Ē

    It was like a punch in the stomach. I felt like I couldnít breathe. My eyes instantly welled up with tears and I yelled back at him; ďNO HE ISNĒT!Ē and I slammed the door in his face. I ran to my room and started to cry.

    Heroes donít die. They canít.

    I remember thinking that maybe Steve was wrong. Thatís it! He had to be wrong. News back in 1979 wasnít like it is today. There wasnít any ESPN. No 24 hour news stations. I turned on the one tv we had in the house and there was nothing about it. I turned on the radio. WMCA used to carry the Yankees in the 70ís and I donít recall if it was on that station or another that I finally heard that it was true. I went back in my room and cried some more.

    I remember watching the game a few nights later on August 6th, the day of Thurmanís funeral. It was ABCís Monday Night Baseball. Howard Cosell said incredibly kind words about Munson. The Yankees, being the classy organization that they are, left home plate open before the game. Yankee fans everywhere were in pain.

    And then some magic happened.

    Yankee magic.

    Bobby Murcer, who had earlier in the day given a eulogy at Thurmanís funeral, somehow managed to deliver some happiness on a day when none seemed possible. With the Yankees trailing 4-0, Murcer hit a 3 run homer in the 7th and then a walk off 2 run single in the bottom of the ninth.

    What other team besides the Yankees has this sort of magic happen? The player delivers the eulogy at his teammate / best friendís funeral and then, later the same day, with his team down by four runs, goes out and drives in all five of his teamís runs including two of them in the bottom of the ninth to win the game. Seriously, you canít make this stuff up.

    I remember cheering. Yankee fans everywhere were cheering. They won one for the Captain and in doing so, began the heeling.

    I still love the Yankees and they have brought me so many great memories over the years. They have won more championships and had so many great players. But I only have one official Yankee jersey and on the back is the number 15.

    Iíve never had another baseball hero since August 2, 1979.

    The one I had then never needed replacing.
    Great post. Losing Bobby recently makes this all the more painful.

    Great post.

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    33rd anniversary today of the loss of Thurman.

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    I must have been band when you posted this...

    Awesome write-up

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    great post.

    I was about 6 1/2 when this tragedy happened. I remember my parents didn't tell me. But I heard some older kids talking about it. I was stunned. Whenever I see clips of Thurman it brngs back some great childhood memories.
    Yankeeography usually plays his story on YES through out the year and especially on the anniversary. My eyes tear up whenever I watch it. I am hoping it is on tonight again.
    I own a ton of Jet jerseys. But I own only one Yankee Jersey. #15 Authentic Away Jersey.

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    Quote Originally Posted by crossfire View Post
    Today marks the 31st anniversary Thurman Munson's tragic death. I wrote this for the thirtieth anniversary last year and posted it in a Yankees blog called Sliding Into Home.

    Remembering The Captain

    Iím forty four years old. That means that thirty years ago today, I was a fourteen year old kid. And like a lot of fourteen year old kids, I loved baseball. But not just any baseball... Yankee baseball.

    What a great time it was to be a Yankee fan. The Yanks had just gone to the World Series three years in a row and had won the last two. Like every kid, I had a hero. Mine was Thurman Munson. I played Babe Ruth baseball and was a catcher, just like Thurman. What was not to like about this guy? He played hard and looked as tough as nails. In his three World Series appearances, he batted .529 in 1976 and .320 in both 1977 and 1978.

    During our lives, there are certain moments that that are burned into our minds. For me, one of the biggest was the knock on my door on August 2, 1979. I opened the door and there was my neighbor Steve. I remember the moment as if it were yesterday. He just blurted out ďThurman Munson is dead.Ē

    It was like a punch in the stomach. I felt like I couldnít breathe. My eyes instantly welled up with tears and I yelled back at him; ďNO HE ISNĒT!Ē and I slammed the door in his face. I ran to my room and started to cry.

    Heroes donít die. They canít.

    I remember thinking that maybe Steve was wrong. Thatís it! He had to be wrong. News back in 1979 wasnít like it is today. There wasnít any ESPN. No 24 hour news stations. I turned on the one tv we had in the house and there was nothing about it. I turned on the radio. WMCA used to carry the Yankees in the 70ís and I donít recall if it was on that station or another that I finally heard that it was true. I went back in my room and cried some more.

    I remember watching the game a few nights later on August 6th, the day of Thurmanís funeral. It was ABCís Monday Night Baseball. Howard Cosell said incredibly kind words about Munson. The Yankees, being the classy organization that they are, left home plate open before the game. Yankee fans everywhere were in pain.

    And then some magic happened.

    Yankee magic.

    Bobby Murcer, who had earlier in the day given a eulogy at Thurmanís funeral, somehow managed to deliver some happiness on a day when none seemed possible. With the Yankees trailing 4-0, Murcer hit a 3 run homer in the 7th and then a walk off 2 run single in the bottom of the ninth.

    What other team besides the Yankees has this sort of magic happen? The player delivers the eulogy at his teammate / best friendís funeral and then, later the same day, with his team down by four runs, goes out and drives in all five of his teamís runs including two of them in the bottom of the ninth to win the game. Seriously, you canít make this stuff up.

    I remember cheering. Yankee fans everywhere were cheering. They won one for the Captain and in doing so, began the heeling.

    I still love the Yankees and they have brought me so many great memories over the years. They have won more championships and had so many great players. But I only have one official Yankee jersey and on the back is the number 15.

    Iíve never had another baseball hero since August 2, 1979.

    The one I had then never needed replacing.
    Awesome post. I was at that Monday night game and remember the outpouring of emotion. We were all cheering loudly, many of us with tears in our eyes at the same time. I will never forget that game, nor our Captain.

  9. #9
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    Great post. JUST GREAT. I was a senior in HS, in Seattle at the time and heard the news like you did. I cried like a kid in my hotel room. I went to lots of Yankee games and Munson was my adopted hero. I have a plaque in my office of all of his baseball cards.

    Remember his loose neck, as he twisted his shoulders into place at the plate? the Fisk/Munson arguments and my all time favorite.... When Fidrych was coming to NY and Munson was quoted as saying "Let him pull that shlt in NY ".

    I am somewhat dismayed at how many fans today 35 and under don't know who he was. Many kids think the Yankees were born in 1996.

    I have been on a mission lately, when Insee someone in a Yankee hat I ask them how big a fan they are. Then I ask them what the retired numbers are. Someone in Tampa asked me in the bar and I got them all except Stengel.

    If you cant recite 1 through 15 retired jerseys, I , with prejudice, question you as a fan.

    Cross...one thing. I love Munson as much as you but Indont let it cloud what we are living through. I have FULLY embraced how lucky we are to have lived through Jeters career. He will be spoken about in the same degree as DiMaggio and Mantle.
    Last edited by southparkcpa; 08-02-2012 at 08:32 PM.

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