Sunday, August 2, 2009

Remembering Munson

How do you remember Thurman Munson when you are too young to have seen him play?

Munson, the Yankee catcher of those late seventies championship teams, was killed in 1979. I was born in 1986.

Unlike Don Mattingly, whom I never saw play since my interest in baseball did not develop until after he retired, I literally never had a chance to see Munson play, in the same way mos of you, dear readers, are too young to have ever seen Babe Ruth or Lou Gehrig.

Still, the stories always seem to find a way to trickle down.

Little by little, you can start to piece together a picture, like a jigsaw puzzle, and you come up with a man that was every bit a Yankee as those he played with, and one whose death, thirty years later, can still tug at one's soul.

To lose a player at all is devastating. To lose one in the heat of August, in the heat of a division race, not from any disease but from an accident, is an awful thing.

Yet perhaps it is of some comfort that now Munson keeps company with the likes of all those other Yankees who have left us, some before our time and some during, and who watch over the team, granting it that little extra bit of help now and then.

That dropped pop up, that stolen base because the ball went into to center field, that ball four...