Seventh Inning

 

7th Inning: Munson Played EVERY POSTSEASON SERIES Against a Hall of Fame Manager

As referenced earlier, every time Thurman Munson played a postseason game he was doing so against a manager who was later judged to be amongst the best minds in baseball history, with all of them eventually being inducted into the Hall of Fame (Lasorda 1997, Anderson 2000, Herzog 2010). At this point, it is important to point out just how unusual it is, historically, for even Hall of Fame Catchers to have helped in leading their teams to victory against Hall of Fame Managers in POSTSEASON SERIES throughout the history of baseball. Collectively, Hall of Fame Catchers have a record of 44-34 (.564) in postseason series, but against Hall of Fame Managers their record is, collectively, a head-scratching 12-24! It is certainly hard to believe but exactly 12 times in history – in 36 chances (.333) – has a Hall of Fame Catcher been victorious with their team against a Hall of Fame Manager in a postseason series. Amongst Hall of Fame Catchers, Bill Dickey is the leader in this category with 3 such victories, having helped the New York Yankees win the World Series in 1939, 1941, and 1943 against Hall of Fame Managers Bill McKechnie (Reds), Leo Durocher (Dodgers), and Billy Southworth (Cardinals).

This makes it especially noteworthy that Thurman Munson had 5 such POSTSEASON SERIES victories while facing Hall of

Fame Managers and LEADING the Yankees as their Captain!

Thurman Munson's POSTSEASON SERIES Record In Total AND Against Hall of Fame Managers

 

Compared with Hall of Fame Catchers

Postseason

Games

Postseason

Series

Postseason Series Won Against

Total Postseason Series

Postseason Series Winning

Postseason Series Record Against

Winning Percentage Against

HOF Managers

Record

Percentage

HOF Managers

HOF Managers

Thurman Munson

30

6

5

5 – 1

.833

5 – 1

.833

Yogi Berra

75

14

2

10-4

.714

2-2

.500

Johnny Bench

45

10

0

6-4

.600

0-2

.000

Ivan Rodriguez

40

9

2

5-4

.556

2-4

.333

Bill Dickey

38

8

3

7-1

.875

3-1

.750

Mike Piazza

32

8

1

3-5

.375

1-4

.200

Roy Campanella

32

5

1

1-4

.200

1-4

.200

Mickey Cochrane

31

5

1

3-2

.600

1-0

1.000

Gary Carter

30

5

0

3-2

.600

0-2

.000

Gabby Hartnett

16

4

0

0-4

.000

0-3

.000

Carlton Fisk

14

3

0

1-2

.333

0-1

.000

Ray Schalk

14

2

1

1-1

.500

1-0

1.000

Buck Ewing

19

2

0

2-0

1.000

0-0

.000

Ernie Lombardi

6

2

0

1-1

.500

0-1

.000

Roger Bresnahan

5

1

1

1-0

1.000

1-0

1.000

HOF Catcher Total

12

44 – 34

.564

12 – 24

.333

At the very least, it seems worthy of note to point out that the 5 MLB Hall of Fame Catchers who played during or after Thurman Munson’s career (Bench, Fisk, Carter, Piazza, Rodriguez) were a combined 3-13 (.188) against Hall of Fame Managers in postseason series during their comparatively very long careers. It is even more interesting to note that none of the Hall of Fame Catchers who came out of Mun son’s own d ecad e in the 1970s (Bench, Fisk, Carter) participated even in one postseason series victory against a Hall of Fame Manager, going collectively 0-5 in such cases, while Munson himself as the first Captain of the Yankees since Lou Gehrig was 5-1.

This seems to be something of a tragic historical oversight.

Thurman definitely made the most of the chances his teams had! And he beat the BEST!

The 12 Times a Hall of Fame Catcher Won a POSTSEASON SERIES Against a Hall of Fame Manager

Postseason Series HOF Catcher Winning Team Opposing HOF Manager
Opposing Team

1905 World Series

Roger Bresnahan

New York Giants

Connie Mack

Philadelphia Athletics

1917 World Series

Ray Schalk

Chicago White Sox

John McGraw

New York Giants

1929 World Series

Mickey Cochrane

Philadelphia Athletics

Joe McCarthy

Chicago Cubs

1939 World Series

Bill Dickey

New York Yankees

Bill McKechnie

Cincinnati Reds

1941 World Series

Bill Dickey

New York Yankees

Leo Durocher

Brooklyn Dodgers

1943 World Series

Bill Dickey

New York Yankees

Billy Southworth

St. Louis Cardinals

1951 World Series

Yogi Berra

New York Yankees

Leo Durocher

New York Giants

1955 World Series

Roy Campanella

Brooklyn Dodgers

Casey Stengal

New York Yankees

1956 World Series

Yogi Berra

New York Yankees

Walter Alston

Brooklyn Dodgers

2000 NL Championship Series

Mike Piazza

New York Mets

Tony LaRussa

St. Louis Cardinals

2003 World Series

Ivan Rodriguez

Florida Marlins

Joe Torre

New York Yankees

2006 AL Division Series

Ivan Rodriguez

Detroit Tigers

Joe Torre

New York Yankees

Analytical Point 1: There was a 44 year gap between examples of a HOF Catcher beating a HOF Manager in a postseason series between 1956 and 2000. Analytical Point 2: There was a 47 year gap between examples of a HOF Catcher beating a HOF Manager in a World Series between 1956 and 2003. Analytical Point 3: HOF Catchers have won exactly 3 postseason series against HOF Managers since 1956. (3 Series in 60 Years!)

Reviewing the 12 times in history in which a Hall of Fame Catcher has helped his team be on the winning side of a postseason series against a Hall of Fame Manager brings a few interesting points to light. First, as hard as it is to believe, in the 60 seasons since the New York Yankees and Yogi Berra won the 1956 World Series there have been exactly 3 examples of a Hall of Fame Catcher being on the winning side of a postseason series against a Hall of Fame Manager. Second, there was a full 44 year gap between such examples from 1956 to 2000 when Mike Piazza helped the New York Mets beat Tony LaRussa’s St. Louis Cardinals in the 2000 National League Championship Series. And third, there was a full 47 year gap between examples of a Hall of Fame Catcher winning a World Series title with his team against a Hall of Fame Manager when Ivan Rodriguez brought this “historical oddity” to an end when he helped the Florida Marlins win the 2003 World Series title against Joe Torre’s New York Yankees! For this to be the only such example, in 60 years now, is astonishing! At the very least, with Munson’s own 5 postseason series victories coming right in the middle of that gap, perhaps it is fair to say Munson’s feat as leader of the Yankees was somewhat underappreciated at the time. And with the subsequent induction into the Hall of Fame of every manager he faced in the postseason, we now have the opportunity to appreciate those 5 series victories for what they represented: something which no Hall of Fame Catcher has ever done!

The 5 Times Thurman Munson's New York Yankees Won a POSTSEASON SERIES

Against a Hall of Fame Manager

Postseason Series Catcher for
Winning Team
Winning Team Opposing
HOF Manager
Opposing Team

1976 AL Championship Series

1977 AL Championship Series

Thurman Munson

Thurman Munson

New York Yankees

New York Yankees

Whitey Herzog

Whitey Herzog

Kansas City Royals

Kansas City Royals

1977 World Series

1978 AL Championship Series

Thurman Munson

Thurman Munson

New York Yankees

New York Yankees

Tommy Lasorda

Whitey Herzog

Los Angeles Dodgers

Kansas City Royals

1978 World Series

Thurman Munson

New York Yankees

Tommy Lasorda

Los Angeles Dodgers

Analytical Point 1: Thurman Munson was the Catcher for and Captain of the New York Yankees in 5 Postseason Series Wins Against HOF Managers.

Analytical Point 2: No Hall of Fame Catcher has more than 3 Postseason Series Wins against Hall of Fame Managers (Bill Dickey).

Analytical Point 3: The 5 MLB HOF Catchers who played during or after Munson's career collectively won 3 Postseason Series against HOF Managers. Analytical Point 4: The 3 HOF Catchers that were "Munson Contemporaries" were a collective 0-5 against HOF Managers in the postseason (Bench / Fisk / Carter)

Analytical Point 5: HOF Catchers have won exactly 3 postseason series against HOF Managers since 1956. (3 Series in 60 Years!)