Baseball always was easy for Thurman Munson, but life never was. And now, after only 32 years, that life has ended tragically.
Thurman Munson seemed tormented by what he was not rather than content with what he was. He was not tall and slim and handsome; he was short and chubby and soft looking. He was not smooth and polished and a con man; he was witty and clever and dead honest. He was not a home run hitter and a matinee idol; he was the Yankees’ captain and perhaps their most dependable player. But even playing for the Yankees, baseball’s most glamorous team, he was not completely happy. He always talked about wanting to be traded to the Cleveland Indians so that he could be within driving distance of his wife, Diane, and their three children at their Camden, Ohio, home. But the Yankees, understandably, would not trade the man they considered the best catcher in baseball. And yesterday, while home visiting his family on an off day in the Yankees’ schedule, Thurman Munson was killed while piloting his twin-engine jet, NY15, that crashed short of the runway at the Akron-Canton Airport.
- Dave Anderson, New York Times
Read the rest: “The Short, Enigmatic Life of Thurman Munson” (August 3, 1979)