Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Munson, I wish I could have seen you.

I was born in 1983, just four years after Thurman Munson tragically passed away. Other than stats on baseball cards and a Yankeeography, I've never known much about Munson. However, I keep hearing quotes and stories about how great of a player he was. How unique he was. How he played the game the right way.

There are countless Yankee legends which I obviously never had the opportunity to see. Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle, Berra. I could go on but I won't. There is grainy video that gives me an idea of at least what the player looked like, but it's impossible for me to get the same appreciation that I do from watching Jeter make his jump throw or the way Bernie Williams used to glide for a ball hit in the gap or the way Paul O'Neill hit a home run and immediately put his head down and ran. I watched these guys every night and can appreciate the little things they do that don't show up on a card or in a box score.

If I could watch one Yankee player from the past on a daily basis, I'd rank Munson right up there probably only after Mantle. I'd love to see his hard-nosed style of play and his leadership ability on a daily basis. I'd even want to see his ugly orange catcher's gear, just so I could watch him catch a gem by Ron Guidry or Catfish Hunter. The Yanks have had a few good offensive catchers over the years, most recently Posada, but it's usually offense or defense and never both. I'd love to see someone who had both.

It's in my current book queue, but I have yet to read Munson's biography. It's a must-do for me, as I need to learn more about him and what he meant to the Yankees, both while he was alive and after his death.

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