“Thurman Munson was the glue that held the Yankees pitching staff together during those championship years. He was a fierce competitor who was beloved by everyone on those teams. His greatness cannot be measured by batting average and home runs alone. Without him, the Yankees do not win those pennants and championships. Thurman– and Billy Martin– should join Catfish Hunter and Reggie Jackson on the wall of the baseball Hall of Fame.”
– Peter Golenbock
During the 1970s, Thurman Munson was among the top three catchers in major league baseball. He was named to seven all-star teams, respected by his peers and was the heart and soul of the Yankee championship teams of that era. When viewed through the prism of modern baseball analytics, Thurman Munson had an incredible decade of dominance from 1970 to 1979 that matches up with other catchers in the Hall of Fame.
In the long and glorious history of the New York Yankees, Thurman Munson is the only Yankee player to win both the Rookie of the Year Award and the American League Most Valuable Player Award.
He was a three-time Gold Glove winner, and the unquestioned leader of his team. He was a rare breed of catcher—one who manages despite the physical and mental demands of his position to finish each year somewhere near the .300 mark. During his 11- year career, Munson never went on the disabled list.
At the time of his death, he had accumulated the most hits of any catcher in a ten-year period. Munson ranked in the top 10 among American League hitters in 5 times, was the first catcher to have 4 consecutive seasons with 180 hits, had three consecutive seasons hitting .300 while driving in 100 RBI and perhaps his generation’s great clutch hitter-batting .357 in the post-season. He hit safely in 27 of 30 post-season games, collected hits in 10 consecutive world series games and hit safely in 7 consecutive world series at-bats.
In 2006, Sports Illustrated named Munson to its American League All Decades Team of the 1970s.
The Munson HOF Committee has launched a campaign to have Munson inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2019- the 40th anniversary of his tragic death. The HOF process for retired Major League Baseball players no longer eligible for election by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA), along with managers, umpires and executives is that is that a player must first be placed on a ballot that is determined by the 11-person Historical Overview Committee (HOC). The ballot is usually finalized in the early fall. At the beginning of the annual baseball winter meetings, the Veterans Committee will conduct a vote on the names on the ballot. There are four Veterans Committees based on when candidates played (or when they were employed in the case of executives, managers and umpires). These are called the Era Committees. The relevant Era Committee for Thurman Munson is the Modern Baseball Era which encompasses 1970-1987. The Modern Baseball Era Committee will be meeting this coming December. Thus, the Munson HOF Committee has two goals: (1) have Thurman named to the HOC ballot and (2) have Thurman selected for induction by the Modern Baseball Era Committee.
To achieve these goals, the Munson HOF Committee has done the following:
- Arranged for the Munson HOF Campaign to be officially launched at the February 4th Annual Thurman Munson Awards Dinner. Yankee broadcaster Michael Kay announced the offical launch of the campaign and asked those in attendance to support the campaign.
- Prepared a comprehensive Munson HOF package that was delivered to the National Baseball Hall of Fame on June 7th (Thurman’s birthday) for distribution to the individual HOC members. The Munson HOF package is available for review.
- The Munson HOF Committee and Thurman Munson Fan Club (known as “Thurman’s Army) attended Old Timers Day on June 23rd wearing Munson HOF T-shirts and parading around Yankee Stadium with “Support the Thurman Munson Hall of Fame Campaign” banners. During the eighth inning of the regular game against the Houston Astros, Michael Kay asked Yankee fans to support the Munson HOF campaign by signing the petition.
During the summer of 2019, the Munson HOF Committee organized additional events to publicize the Munson HOF campaign and gather support.
- Thurman’s Army attended the Friday night game on August 2nd against the Red Sox to observe the 40th year since Thurman’s passing.
- Thurman’s Army also showed up for the day game on August 3rd and participated in the Thurman Munson memorial rally held between games of the day-night doubleheader at Macombs Dam Park after the game.
- The Munson HOF Committee assisted with the cover article on Thurman Munson that appeared in the August issue of Yankees Magazine.
- At the end of August, the Munson HOF Committee will submit the Munson HOF petition to the HOC.
- On November 3rd, the New York State Baseball Hall of Fame will induct Thurman Munson. The event which we hope will be the launching pad for his induction into Cooperstown will be held in Troy, New York. Many of his former teammates will be in attendance along with the Munson family. Tickets are still available for this event. Please let us know if you would like to purchase a ticket
In the meantime, the Munson HOC Campaign will be working behind the scenes to have Thurman Munson included on HOF ballot.
What can you do?
- Sign the Petition
- Ask your friends and family to sign the petition. But hurry-we will be submitting the petition by mid-August.
- Ask your local newspapers to cover the Munson HOF Campaign.
Munson HOF Committee Media on Why Thurman Munson Belongs in the Baseball Hall of Fame
- Thurman Munson’s Case for Cooperstown Thurman Munson’s Case for Cooperstown
- Jeremy Schaap’s The Sporting Life Podcast Jeremy Schaap’s The Sporting Life Podcast
- Michael Kay Asks Fans to Sign Petition on Yankee Broadcast
- Munson Fans Seeking to Have Thurman Munson Inducted into the Hall of Fame
- Is Baseball Hall of Fame Ready for Thurman Munson?
A summary of the key metrics for Munson HOF case:
MODERN DAY ADVANCED METRICS
- 10 consecutive seasons of WAR- 45.6 WAR
- One of 10 Catchers in history to catch 1000+ games and produce 40+ WAR in 10 consecutive seasons (only 6 catchers higher-all HOFers)
- 12th all- time in JAWS for catchers.
- 14th all-time in WAR for catchers.
- 7th in 7 year-peak War
- 1 of 5 AL catchers with 9 consecutive years OPS% above league average (others HOFers).
- 1 of 4 AL catchers with 4 top 20 finishes in OPS+ (I-Rod, Fisk, Mauer and Posada)
- 3rd best WAR per 162 games with 5.25 WAR. (minimum 1,000 games caught)(Cochrane HOF. 5.69, Bench HOF. 5.65 Munson. 5.25, Dickey HOF. 5.05, Piazza HOF. 5.05, Carter HOF. 4.95, Campanella HOF. 4.55, Berra HOF. 4.54. Fisk HOF. 4.44, Rodriguez HOF. 4.38, Hartnett HOF. 4.35)
REGULAR SEASON TRADITIONAL BATTING STATISTICS
- 1st catcher to have consecutive 4 seasons with 180+ hits –
- 1 of 3 AL catchers with 7 consecutive seasons with at least 130 hits
- 1 of 3 catchers with 3 consecutive seasons with a .300 avg. and 100 RBI
- 5 times finished in the Top 10 in batting average
- Finished 3rd, 4th and 4th in hits for a season – only catcher in history
- Batted .330 with 2 outs and RISP from 1975 to 1978 (team batted .243) Compare to – Fisk (273), Bench (.255) and Carter (.220). only exceeded by Carew and Stargell for HOFers in same time period
- Hit .288 and .310 with 2 outs and RISP with a 46% caught stealing in 1979
- Career BA .292 – Compare to Bench (.267), Fisk (.269) and Carter (.262.)
- 1 of 8 catchers to finish multiple times in top 10 in Total Bases for a season and had 230+ TB (1975-1978).
- 7 All-Star Games in the 9 seasons.
- AL MVP in 1976 and finished 7th in MVP voting in 1975 and 1977
- First AL ROY Catcher (1970)
- Hit .357 in six post-season series (94 points higher than next HOF catcher)
- Postseason OPS (.874) higher than every Hall of Fame Catcher except one
- Hit safely in 27 of 30 postseason games – no other player has ever done that!
- Hit safely in 10 consecutive world series games
- 7 consecutive hits in world series
- Caught 120+ games for 7 consecutive seasons (‘72 to ‘78) and ’70 (117 games in ’71 due to reserve duty) or would have been 9 consecutive seasons
- Top 5 for games caught – 8 seasons (Led the league 3 times with 1 runner up )
- Top 5 for Putouts – 6 seasons
- Top 5 for Assists – 8 seasons ( Led the league 3 times with 4 runner-up)
- Top 3 for DPs turned as C – 5 seasons ( Led league 2 times with 1 runner-up)
- Top 5 for runners caught stealing – 5 seasons (with 1 runner-up)
- Top 5 Caught % – 7 seasons ( Led the league 2 times with 1 runner up )
- Career 44% caught stealing
- led the league in COMPLETE games caught in the 1970’s 3 times (Fisk 2, Bench 0)
- led the league in innings caught 4 times (Fisk 2, Bench 0)
The Captain. Fiery leader of two World Series championship teams and three American League pennant winners. Feared clutch hitter who excelled in the post season. Three consecutive seasons of batting .300 with 100 RBI. 1970 AL Rookie of the Year. Seven time All Star, three time Gold Glove recipient. Winner of the American League MVP in 1976.”