Hall Of Fame Debate: Cast Your Vote For Thurman Munson!!!

Hall Of Fame Debate: Cast Your Vote For Thurman Munson!!!

There are very few names in the baseball world that more consistently bring smiles to people’s faces than that of Mr. Thurman Thomas.

Personally, I know very little about Munson and his career.  It’s not by choice, but he starred in an era in which I gravitated to learning about other stars.  So, while I cannot say that I don’t value what he brought to the game, I can say that I really don’t know how he got elevated to the level of likability and collectability that he has reached.  To this day, I am still surprised that collectors would value an early 70’s card of Munson over a card of such guys as Pete Rose, Mike Schmidt, and Johnny Bench.  But, they do!!

I don’t think that I am exaggerating when I say that Thurman Munson is one of the most collected former players of the last 50 years.  His cards maintain a value like few others – and they are almost never cheap.

It could be the fact that he played for the winningest franchise in baseball history – the New York Yankees.

But, it could be more than that too…

It could be that he played catcher – the heart and sole of a team’s defense.

But, it could be more than that as well…

It also could be that Munson looked like an everyday man – 5′ 11″ tall and weighing 190 pounds, often with messy hair, some sort of facial hair, and a dirty uniform.

And it could still be more than that…

Munson passed away at the age of 32.  He was a Yankee for 11 seasons and is the owner of 2 World Series championship rings.  Maybe it is the ‘Could Have Been’ aspect of Munson that intrigues the fans and collectors.

Munson

Either way you slice it, Thurman Munson is beloved – inside and outside of New York City.

And the kind of love shown to him makes me immediately think of him and the Hall of Fame.  So, tonight I ask you to cast your vote.

When examining Munson’s career, it is obviously incomplete – and while there is a slight dip in performance during his final season, Munson at age 32 was still very productive.

Munson connected for 1,558 career hits and has a lifetime batting average of .292.  His power numbers were good for a catcher, but not elite – 229 doubles, 113 HR’s, 701 RBI, and 696 runs scored.  Munson had an impressive on-base percentage of .346 and a career tally of 2,190 total bases.  Munson was a 7-time All-Star, 3-time Gold Glove winner, Rookie Of The Year, and League MVP.

But, does that gain you Hall of Fame entry??

Not for me.  While the numbers, for a catcher, are impressive they are not even close to what other notable Yankee catchers accomplished (Berra & Dickey).  I would however, give Munson consideration because he offered up a solid offensive and defensive game – but ultimately, his career numbers fall too short of elite for him to capture my vote. 

Gavel

How about you?  Where do you lie in this debate – Is it a ‘Yea’ or a ‘Nea’???

9 responses to “Hall Of Fame Debate: Cast Your Vote For Thurman Munson!!!

  1. I think in the case of Munson, you have to assume what the rest of his career would have been like just like writers did with Kirby Puckett.

    During his career (10 years) I think he was the best catcher in the American League. I think he proved that by winning a MVP, ROY, 2 WS Rings, 3 Gold Gloves and 7 All Star appearances.

    He was also the Yankees first team captain since Lou Gehrig. A lot of HOF players played for the Yankees during that time and were never a Yankees team captain. DiMaggio, Mantle, Berra, Dickey and Ford are just some of the biggest names in Yankees history yet were never team captain. Also the Yankees kept his locker around until old Yankee Stadium finally turned out the lights. Teams don’t just do that for any player.

    To me Munson deserves to be in the HOF and hopefully one day he’ll be inducted.

    • Matt- You make a lot of interesting and valuable points. For me, I just don’t see an aging catcher, whose last year in the league was a decline from prior ones, getting better. With his style of play, he was probably pretty beaten up and I would assume that his best years were already behind him.

      Puckett still had an upside, I don’t think that Munson did.

  2. I say hell no. Dwight Gooden not getting in. Neither should Munson

    • AG- I’m not sure that I would compare him to Gooden as the positions played and eras played are not apples to apples. But with the awards and individual achievements, I would say Gooden is more worthy as well.

  3. Huge fan of vintage cardboard of the Walrus… but I don’t see him being enshrined in Cooperstown anytime soon.

  4. I think what we have to do is eliminate the sentimentality of the debate. Was he the Captain of the Yankees? Yes, but that speaks about his leadership qualities more than his abilities. Was he a great catcher during the course of a 7-8 year span? Yes, but many players were great for a handful of years (Luis Tiant, Boog Powell,Fred Lynn).

    I look at Munson’s career and see a player who had started on the downside of a career. Had he played another 5-6 years, he would have had a career that resembles Dale Murphy’s. Both men had a great career for almost a decade. Murphy hung on for another 6-7 years and faded with each passing year. Munson tragically had his career cut short, but in doing so, he created a legacy that far surpasses the statistics of his career.

    I appreciate Munson for what he was on and off the field. He was a fierce competitor who brought a passion to the game that is not seen today; just look at his fights with Fisk. Retire his number, keep his locker, idolize his tenacity, but don’t diminish his legacy by allowing emotions to play a part in the decision.

  5. Exactly. Great player, but not of the best to ever play the game.

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