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Marty Appel's "Munson: The Life And Death Of A Yankee Captain"
on July 8, 2009
When I was a youngster, I was a huge fan of Thurman Munson.
To this day, if I close my eyes, I can quickly remember the feeling of sitting in Yankee Stadium, as a 13-year old, with my father, watching the Yankees play with Munson at bat and runners on base.
During these moments, my heart would race - where it felt like it was about to jump out of my chest (because it was beating so hard and fast). Why? Because I wanted Thurman to come through...as he was "my guy."
And, more times than not, Munson did the job.
It's been so many years, but, in this memory, I can still see Munson slapping a line drive into right field, as if he was picking the ball out of opposing catcher's mitt with his bat, waiting until the last minute to go the other way with the pitch, with Yankees runners rounding third and coming home to score...man, talk about pure exhilaration...that was it.
Being such a Munson fan, I was (and still am) very interested in learning more about him. And, for the last three decades or so, I've been waiting for the ultimate book covering the entire story of Thurman Munson.
Now, thanks to Marty Appel, with his new book "Munson: The Life and Death of a Yankee Captain," we have what I have been waiting for...all these years. With this book Appel provides us with the complete account of Thurman Munson's life and untimely passing...with no holds barred.
With this work, we get to see the many facets of Munson's life: Thurman as a ball player, a friend, the family man and a real estate entrepreneur. And, we get to see the good and the bad sides of the man. This includes getting to see Thurman as the everyday likeable guy who eats Oreos and milk for breakfast, watches the Three Stooges, sings commercial jingles to himself, has a terrible sense of fashion, and who would go out of his way to help people (with no fanfare whatsoever). But, we also get to see Thurman as someone who was somewhat insecure at times, cursed at sportswriters, gave the fans "the finger" during a game, cut many of the dysfunctional family members out of his life, and who once fired a gun in the Yankee Stadium parking lot.
Also, with this biography, Appel provides a superior account of the complete Thurman Munson timeline - bringing us from Munson's youth, through his time with the Yankees, to covering his tragic death in terms of the event itself and the impact it had on many (both inside and outside the Munson circle).
But, what I enjoyed most about "Munson: The Life and Death of a Yankee Captain" is how the story is told. In the book, Appel uses his own voice as well as those of many others who knew Thurman - including his teammates and friends. And, many of these sources are people who most were never aware (until now) as being a big part of Munson's life or parties that you would not expect to have some insight on the Munson story.
In summary, I would offer that "Munson: The Life and Death of a Yankee Captain" is a must read for any Yankees fan over the age of forty, a highly recommended read for Yankees fans of any age, and a recommended read for anyone interested in baseball and a very well-done story about one of more notable players from the last half-century of the game's history.
This book will engross, entertain, enlighten and "touch" you all at the same time. It's too bad that we had to wait 30 years for a book like this on Thurman Munson. But, now that its here, I cannot imagine a better one ever being done compared to the job Marty Appel did with "Munson: The Life and Death of a Yankee Captain."