Birthday: June 7, 1947
Died At Age: 32
Sun Sign: Gemini
Also Known As: Thurman Lee Munson
Born Country: United States
Born in: Akron, Ohio, United States
Famous as: Baseball Player
Height: 5'11" (180 cm), 5'11" Males
Spouse/Ex-: Diana Dominick (m. 1968)
father: Darrell Vernon Munson
mother: Ruth Myrna Smylie
children: Kelly Munson, Michael Munson, Tracy Munson
Died on: August 2, 1979
U.S. State: Ohio
Cause of Death: Accident
City: Akron, Ohio
education: Kent State University, Lehman High School
Who was Thurman Munson?
Thurman Munson was an American professional baseball player. He is best remembered as the ‘heart & soul’ of Major League Baseball’s New York Yankees, whom he helped win two World Series championships. A seven-time All-Star, he had a batting average of .292 with 701 runs batted and 113 home runs. He was named as the catcher on the College Baseball All-American Team in 1968. Munson was a three-time Gold Glove awardee, and he also managed to earn the American League (AL) MVP Award and Rookie of the Year Award in his short career. He was born in Akron, Ohio, to an army veteran and a homemaker as the youngest of their four kids. He learned to play baseball from his older brother and was the captain of the baseball, basketball, and football teams in high school. Munson switched to catcher from shortstop during his senior year and joined the Cape Cod Baseball League in the summer of 1967. He was acquired by the New York Yankees for the 1969 season and played for the team until his death in 1979. Known for his outstanding fielding, the talented player met a tragic end at the age of 32 when he died in a plane crash.
Childhood & Early Life
Thurman Munson was born on June 7, 1947, in Akron, Ohio, to Ruth Myrna Smylie, a homemaker, and Darrell Vernon Munson, a World War II veteran cum truck driver. He had three older siblings.
At the age of eight, he moved to Canton with his family where his elder brother Duane taught him baseball.
Munson studied at Lehman High School where he played guard in basketball, halfback in football, and shortstop in his baseball team. In his senior year, he switched to catcher in baseball. He later enrolled at Kent State University on a scholarship
In the summer of 1967, he joined the Cape Cod Baseball League and played for the Chatham A's.
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Thurman Munson signed with the Yankees in the 1968 Major League Baseball draft and made his first appearance in Yankee Stadium in August in an exhibition match, playing for the Binghamton Triplets. A year later, he batted .363 for the Syracuse Chiefs, eventually earning a promotion to the New York Yankees.
On August 8, 1969, he made his major league debut, in a match against the Oakland Athletics. During the off season, he batted .302 with 7 home runs and 57 RBI which ultimately paved his way for the League Rookie of the Year award in 1970.
Munson made his way to the All-Star team for the first time in 1971. Two years later, he made his second All-Star team and garnered his first ever Gold Glove Award, hitting a career high twenty home runs.
He batted a career high .318, a third in the league, in 1975. For the 1976 season, he became the first Yankees team captain since the retirement of Lou Gehrig in 1939. During the season, the talented player batted .302 with 17 home runs and 105 RBI.
He batted .529 with two runs and two RBI in the World Series against the Cincinnati Reds and .435 with three runs and three RBI in the American League Championship Series during the 1975-76 season.
In 1977, Munson batted .308 with 100 RBI, becoming the first catcher to bat .300 or better with 100 or more RBI in three consecutive seasons.
He then went on to play against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series and eventually helped his team emerge victorious by batting .320 with a home run and three RBI.
In 1978, his team faced Kansas City Royals faced in the ALCS. During the match, he hit the longest home run of his career, ultimately bringing his team a 6–5 win. Munson went on to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series in 6 games, winning the final 4.
He made his last MLB appearance for the New York Yankees on August 1, 1979.
During the World Series championships of 1977 and 1978, Thurman Munson became only the second catcher in baseball history to win a Gold Glove Award, an MVP Award, Rookie of the Year Award, and a World Series title in his career.
Family & Personal Life
From 1968 until his death, Thurman Munson was married to Diana Dominick. They had three children, Tracy, Michael, and Kelly.
On August 2, 1979, he was practicing takeoffs and landings with his Cessna Citation aircraft at Akron–Canton Airport when the plane, also carrying two of his companions, crashed. While his two companions survived the crash, he suffered a broken neck and died of asphyxiation.
Yankee owner George Steinbrenner retired his number ‘15’ jersey upon his death. In September 1980, a plaque was placed in Monument Park in his memory.
In 2000, Munson was inducted into the inaugural class of the Cape Cod Baseball League Hall of Fame.