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  • Thurman Munson: Yes or No?

    This has always been a curiousity of mine to see what other knowledgeable baseball fans think about this.

    In my opinion, Thurman Munson was a Hall of Fame-caliber catcher and that he seems to have been lost in the shuffle over the years with Carlton Fisk and now Gary Carter.

    Looking over his statistics, however, you can't help but be impressed:
    A .292 career average including five-.300 campaigns and a .297 average in his last full season.

    He was not a power-hitter, although a solid run-producer, his 113 home runs and 701 RBI don't really compare with Bench, Campy, Berra, etc.

    He did play in six post-season series, winning five including back-to-back World Series in '77 and '78.

    A seven-time All-Star, three Gold Gloves, 1970 AL Rookie of the Year and an MVP in 1976.

    So, let me know...vote yea or ney on Thurman and tell me why you voted that way below.
    22
    Yes.
    9.09%
    2
    No.
    90.91%
    20

    The poll is expired.

    Last edited by bake mcbride; 01-21-2004, 01:37 PM.
    Just being around baseball is an elixir-Buck O'Neil

  • #2
    This is how one sportswriter sees Munson's plaque:
    "Captain of three consecutive New York Yankee pennant winning teams...First catcher to be named Rookie of the Year in the American League...Most Valuable Player, 1976...Three-time Gold Glove winner...Batted over .300 five times in ten-year career...Made only one error, 1971 season, and that on a play in which he was knocked unconscious...Batted .529 in 1976 World Series, highest ever by a player on a losing team...Lifetime average in postseason play was .357...First American Leaguer in a quarter century to bat .300 and drive in over 100 runs in three consecutive seasons...Seven-time All Star."
    (Written by Marty Appel, Executive producer of Yankee baseball on WPIX-TV in New York)
    ...but he's a New Yorker. I voted no.

    edit: Before anybody jumps on this,when I said "he's a New Yorker," I meant Marty Appel.
    Last edited by 2Chance; 01-22-2004, 04:03 AM.
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    • #3
      Admittedly, there are a few things on the plaque that I did not know, like batting over .300 three years in a row and having 100+ RBI each of those years. However, I can't see it. He probably would have had a shot had he lived a few more years.
      Catfish Hunter, RIP. Mark Fidrych, RIP. Skip Caray, RIP. Tony Gwynn, #19, RIP

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      Experience is the hardest teacher. She gives the test first and the lesson later. -- Dan Quisenberry.

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      • #4
        I voted yes. It's very close, because the offensive numbers aren't really there in Munson's abbreviated career, but Munson had a number of intangibles (fielding, postseason, leadership) that put him over the top.

        Don't think the end of his career (and, tragically, his life) hurt his case much, because he was looking to be well past his prime anyway.

        However, for those who make the case that an injury can't help a HOF case, I answer that there is a clear distinction between injury and tragedy, as Addie Joss and Ross Youngs prove.

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        • #5
          If Munson, why not Wally Schang?
          "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
          "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
          "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
          "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Chancellor
            If Munson, why not Wally Schang?
            My gut feel when I saw this question -- why not indeed?

            Then I looked up the numbers, and it largely bore out my gut.

            The fact is, the HOF has largely ignored catchers from this era, and the ones that have been taken may not have been the best available.

            Schang may in fact be the best available between, say, Bresnahan and Cochrane, and he's got qualifications similar to Munson's.

            So, yeah, sure, I'll take them both.
            Last edited by Cougar; 01-22-2004, 01:02 PM.

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            • #7
              As much as I liked Munson, and his death shocked me, and I'll always remember having an empty feeling watching the 1980 AS Game because he wasn't there, I feel he falls just short, based on his too-short career.

              His numbers for his career are comparable to other HOF catchers for that amount of time. He was a little lost in the shuffle because he was not Johnny bench, and Gary Carter and Carlton Fisk surpassed him due to their longetivity. That's the major difference between the latter two and Munson to me. Doing it that well (for a catcher) for that long.

              I've heard Munson was on his way out as a catcher. If he would have gone to Cleveland, who knows what would have happened? I don't believe a player should get elected due in part to a lot of speculation. Koufax and Dean got in because of how they were at their peak, which was stonger than how Munson was at his, regardless of where he ranked among his contemporary catchers at the time of his tragic death.

              He's at the top, to me, of a logjam of very good catchers who don't quite make it. The fact he was Yankee captain should have zero relevance to the HOF. It's a team gesture, and little more.
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              • #8
                I'm going to act as if he just retired...no speculation
                His 11 seasons just aren't putting him over the top for me.
                To me, he was dominant for 3 peak years and good most of the other years.
                It's a case of feeling bad about voting NO, yet being honest at the same time.
                NO

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                • #9
                  This subject was addressed immediately after his untimely death back in 1979 when the NY press was pushing to have him inducted posthumously.

                  The reply from the HoF then was that he was simply not good enough.
                  "Heroes are people who are all good with no bad in them. That's the way I always saw Joe DiMaggio. He was beyond question one of the greatest players of the century."

                  ~Mickey Mantle

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                  • #10
                    Nope, he has two factors working for him: 1)NY 2)Tragedy
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                    • #11
                      MetsFan11368,
                      I would be interested in reading the HOF's responce to the writers wanting Thurm in. Any idea where I would be able to dig that up? -Sasha
                      “it is impossible to understand America without a thorough knowledge of baseball” -Mcafee

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                      • #12
                        No idea, although I would suggest you start with NY newspaper articles from that period of Aug-Sept, 1979. I'm recalling these events from memory and I also remember Dick Young, a famous NY baseball writer, leading the effort to get Munson inducted.

                        Needless to say, that was a big disappointment.
                        "Heroes are people who are all good with no bad in them. That's the way I always saw Joe DiMaggio. He was beyond question one of the greatest players of the century."

                        ~Mickey Mantle

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by MetsFan11368
                          No idea, although I would suggest you start with NY newspaper articles from that period of Aug-Sept, 1979. I'm recalling these events from memory and I also remember Dick Young, a famous NY baseball writer, leading the effort to get Munson inducted.

                          Needless to say, that was a big disappointment.
                          I remember Billy Martin getting into a shouting match with Joe Falls of the Detroit News after a game in Detroit. Falls had written an article after Munson's death indicating that he wasn't HOF material. Billy took exception to the article. Martin & Falls had been old adversaries since Billy's days in Detroit as the Tigers manager.

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                          • #14
                            I can understand that. Billy was totally crushed by Munson's death and was convinced that it would be a gross injustice not to have him inducted.

                            This is something I found at www.thurmanmunson.com




                            Letter from the Veterans Committee in reference to Thurman Munson and the Hall of Fame.

                            Dear Friend,

                            We are in receipt of your letter. Thank you for taking the time to express
                            your views to the Baseball Hall of Fame. We will be sure your suggestion is
                            documented in our Veterans Committee files and taken into consideration.

                            All players, including Thurman Munson, who played in at least 10 major
                            league seasons, as well as those from the 19th century, who are not on Major
                            League Baseball’s ineligible list, and who are not being considered by the
                            Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA, are eligible for election
                            by the new Veterans Committee - even if they did not receive votes on more
                            than 5 percent of ballots cast by the BBWAA. Managers, umpires and
                            executives with 10 or more years in Baseball are also eligible.

                            According to the Rules of Election, Mr. Munson was eligible for
                            consideration by the BBWAA for 15 years. During that span of time he
                            garnered votes, though never more than the 75 percent required for
                            induction. At this time, Mr. Munson is eligible for consideration by the
                            Hall of Fame Committee on Baseball Veterans, but not the BBWAA. Remember
                            only 1 percent of those to have worn a major league uniform -- one in 100 -
                            have a plaque in Cooperstown.

                            Please note that, though Mr. Munson is not a member of the Hall of Fame, he
                            is represented here at the National Baseball Museum. The Museum has in its
                            collection: a batting helmet from the 1970's, a free standing sculpture of
                            glass, wood and bronze created by Steve Linn, baseball cards and posters. On
                            loan, we have a catchers mitt and mask that came from Gene Michael, which he
                            used during his career with the Yankees.
                            "Heroes are people who are all good with no bad in them. That's the way I always saw Joe DiMaggio. He was beyond question one of the greatest players of the century."

                            ~Mickey Mantle

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                            • #15
                              Thank you for the information. Though it seems like the Hall gave the recipient of the letter a very generic version. It is good that they addressed the specific issue at the end of the letter, but it seems like they must have recieved a lot of letters from fans/press asking why Thurmon wasn't inducted into the HOF, (hence the "Dear Friend",).
                              Anyway, that is just my opinion, thank you again for the information. -Sasha
                              “it is impossible to understand America without a thorough knowledge of baseball” -Mcafee

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