This Day In New York Yankees History: Thurman Munson Passes From Plane Crash

Thurman Munson was one of the best to ever wear pinstripes. Born on June 7th, 1945, Munson played 11 years with the New York Yankees where he racked up a total of seven All-Star games while batting a career .292 with 113 total home runs (Baseball Reference).

In his rookie season, Munson batted .302 where he only fanned 56 times in 526 plate appearances. He racked up a total of 137 hits with 54 runs batted in and 6 home runs. Because of his significant first year, Munson was selected as the Rookie of the Year. Known for his stellar defense, Munson also won the Gold Glove Award in three consecutive years (1973-1975).

Munson was considered as the “heart and soul” of the Yankees, so he was selected as the team’s captain. In his time being the captain, Munson led the Yanks to three World Series where they won twice (1976, 1977, 1978).

During an off day in the season of 1979, Munson was practicing flying his plane – a Cessna Citation I/SP jet. He purchased this plane so he would be able to fly home to his home in Canton, Ohio on off-days. On August 2nd, 1979, Munson took out his plane with his friend and flight instructor, Jerry Anderson and Dave Hall. Munson was attempting to complete the final landing of the day where while descending, he let the jet fly too low where he hit a tree which caused the plane to burst into flames. Hall and Anderson both survived the accident however, Munson suffered a broken neck. Asphyxiation due to the toxic substances of the fire ultimately caused Munson’s death. 

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Thurman Munson will forever be remembered as one of the greatest Yankees. Rest in peace, Capt!