8/2 – Yankees at White Sox
There is no more tragic date in Yankees history. 30 years ago, the Yankees lost their captain, Thurman Munson, when the Cessna Citation jet he was piloting crashed short of a runway in Canton, Ohio.
Munson had been practicing touch-and-go landings that afternoon, an unplanned exercise – he’d even left his car unlocked and a cigar burning in the ashtray. On Munson’s third approach, he did not lower the landing gear and tried to accelerate to make up the difference. The jet clipped a tree and, while two passengers survived the impact, Munson would perish.
Recently, I had a chance to read Marty Appel’s wonderful “Munson: The Life and Death of a Yankee Captain,” and if you are not familiar with Munson’s story and legacy … or even if you are … this is very much a worthwhile book to pick up. Appel reveals Munson the man, as well as detailing the gritty leader whom the Yankees still miss very much to this day.
As Munson’s plaque reads in Monument Park: “Our captain and leader has not left us today, tomorrow, this year,
next … Our endeavors will reflect our love and admiration for him.”
WHITE SOX (54-51)
Pitching: Mark Buerhle (11-4, 3.45)
NOTES: Brian Bruney, Dave Robertson and Mark Melancon probably won’t be used today … Girardi said there are no health concerns with Alfredo Aceves … Buerhle and Sabathia rank 1-2 in wins by left-handers in MLB since 2001 (Buerhle 129, Sabathia 127). They have matched up five times – Sabathia is 5-0, Buerhle 0-5. … Derek Jeter played his 2,084th game, tying Babe Ruth for fourth place on the Yankees’ all-time list. Next up is Yogi Berra (2,116).
Girardi’s thoughts on Munson: “There’s always so much talk about Thurman. People wearing his jersey still, Diana still comes back, I think it tells you about the kind of man and the way the Yankees people felt about him. I think he was a great player, a great leader, and I think he got the best out of everyone. I think there was an attitude there that people really appreciated, a grittiness and a toughness, the way he played the game. The fact that his locker was still there in Yankee Stadium when I walked in there for the first time in 1996 kind of gave me chills. He was an amazing man and obviously we all feel that he went way before his time. We wish we could have had him in Spring Training all the time with us.”