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Munson: The Life and Death of Yankee Captain

Biography of the tragic Yankee catcher by Marty Appel

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Interesting Insights To a Yankee Captain

  • Jan 11, 2011
  • by
This book presents a lot of interesting information on the personality of one of the most quirky Yankees of all time. Most Yankee fans remember the outspoken Reggie as well as Goose, and Martin of the Yankee teams of the 70's but can barely remember any interviews with Munson and until his tragic plane crash, knew very little about his personal life.

Munson had a very rough childhood with a physically abusive and usually absent father. He was expected to finish school and go into a blue collar trade but he excelled at several sports. He used baseball as a way to have a few hours each day to forget about his troubles and problems at home.

Munson actually had excellent speed for his size and did not really play catcher until late in his teens. He was lucky enough to not have to go into the military because of a deformity he was unaware of.

The book seems to have a lot a interesting side stories about Thurman during his early Yankee years but several of those seasons are only presented in a page or two. Even the pennent years of 76-78 seem to be told in very terse pages so that the reader gets to the halfway of the book at the end of the 78 World Series.

The rest of the book focuses on 1979, specifically the days leading up to Munson's plane crash. Most of this is forgotten by fans with the exception of the Monday game that was played right after his death in which Bobby Murcer helped lead a Yankee comeback against the Orioles.

This book, while having some good insights and good Yankee memories of some of the more obsure players they had during the early 70's, pales in comparison to other baseball biographies (Steinbrenner, The Last Lion and Willie Mays, The Life, The Legend) that I recently read.

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I first got on this blog to discuss my first passion which is books. Since I have gotten on I find that books are only a piece of this blog and I can discuss just about anything that comes to mind. It … more
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For Yankee fans, catcher Thurman Munson remains a sentimental standout among the storied lineup of George Steinbrenner’s late '70s Bronx Zoo dynasty of Yankee baseball, when the team made it to three consecutive World Series, winning in '77 and '78. Former Yankee Public Relations Director Marty Appel was the ghostwriter on Munson's autobiography, and now, three decades later, returns to his legendary subject in the biography, Munson: The Life and Death of a Yankee Captain.

As a Yankee insider, Appel keeps Munson, "the heart and soul of a world championship team," in a mostly positive light, though he does reveal more sensational elements of Munson's troubled childhood in Canton, Ohio, where his emotionally abusive father criticized him right up to the end of his short life, even chewing out the casket at Munson's funeral. Appel documents Munson's career as a scholarship athlete at Kent State, his time in the Cape Cod league, and his quick ascension to the major leagues and the Yankees, where he won Rookie of the Year in 1970 and was eventually made team captain, the first player to hold the title since Lou Gehrig. His blue-collar work ethic and gruff but lovable demeanor made him an instant fan favorite (a shot of him making a tag at home plate was the first action photo used in a Topps baseball card). And during that Bronx Zoo era, gloriously depicted in Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bronx Is Burning, it was the down-to-earth Munson ...

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