54 Days till Baseball

With the impending snowstorm about to crush NYC, it helps to think that in just 54 short days the YANKS will be back in action. Most likely beating up on the Red Sox and hopefully the entire AL east. The Yankees actually start the season on Sunday night April 4th in the not so friendly confines of Fenway Park.

After winning Championship # 27, I have been thinking a lot about the all the history, all the titles and all the players that make the Yankees what they are today, The GREATEST SPORTS FRANCHISE on the planet. To have your number retired by this organization is the highest honor. As I count down the days to the season I want to highlight this very special elite group of Yankees.

Lets start with a guy, I had the privilege to see play, even though I was only 4 years old at the time. THURMAN MUNSON

Thurman Lee Munson (June 7, 1947 – August 2, 1979) was a Major League Baseball catcher who spent his entire career with the New York Yankees (1969 – 1979). A perennial All-Star, Munson was killed at age 32 while trying to land his personal jet. He is the only Yankee ever to win both the Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player Awards.

Legacy

YankeesRetired15.svg
Thurman Munson’s number 15 was retired by the New York Yankees in 1979

The day after his death, before the start of the Yankees’ four-game set with the Baltimore Orioles in the Bronx, the team paid tribute to their deceased captain in a pre-game ceremony in which the starters stood at their defensive positions, save for the catcher’s box, which remained empty. Following a prayer by Terence Cardinal Cooke, a moment of silence and “America The Beautiful” by Robert Merrill, the fans (announced attendance 51,151) burst into an eight minute standing ovation. Jerry Narron, the man who would replace Munson behind the plate, remained in the dugout and did not enter the field until stadium announcer Bob Sheppard said, “And now it is time to play ball. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen for your co-operation.”

On August 6, the entire Yankee team attended Munson’s funeral in Canton, Ohio. Teammates Lou Piniella and Bobby Murcer, who were Munson’s best friends, gave eulogies. That night (before a national viewing audience on ABC‘s Monday Night Baseball) the Yankees beat the Orioles 5-4 in New York, with Murcer driving in all five runs with a three-run home run in the seventh inning and a two-run single in the bottom of the ninth.[15]

Yankee owner George Steinbrenner retired Munson’s number 15 immediately upon his catcher’s death. On September 20, 1980, a plaque dedicated to Munson’s memory was placed in Monument Park. The plaque bears excerpts from an inscription composed by Steinbrenner and flashed on the stadium scoreboard the day after his death:

Our captain and leader has not left us, today, tomorrow, this year, next … Our endeavors will reflect our love and admiration for him.
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