Let’s Talk About Thurman Munson

Thurman Munson

Thurman Munson, 1947–1979 (Image via Wikipedia)

When building the Hall of wWAR, the most exhilarating part of the process was seeing who the most overlooked players were in baseball history. Many of these players became pet cases of mine for the Hall of Fame. I wrote about many of them at length at Beyond the Box Score—19th Century stars Bill Dahlen, Deacon White, and Bob Caruthers, ballot holdovers Jeff Bagwell, Edgar Martinez, Tim Raines, and Alan Trammell, and players with cases that are now left to the Veterans Committee in Kevin Brown, Lou Whitaker, Ted Simmons, Bobby Grich, and Dick Allen. That’s a lot of players to support. And to be honest, there’s actually more.

Today, I want to have a little chat about one of those players—Thurman Munson. Munson hasn’t always been near the top of my list of pet cases. But I’ve… evolved my feelings towards him.

I’ve actually been working on a new Hall of Fame-related project that builds on the Hall of wWAR. Through that project, I’ve identified what I believe should be the Hall of Fame borderline. Thurman Munson sits right on that borderline. Of course, that’s significant for a big reason—Munson never got to finish his career. We lost him at age 32 when a small plane he was piloting crashed in Canton, OH. The fact that he sits on the borderline without the opportunity to finish his career says to me that Thurman Munson was a Hall of Famer.

Here are some more thoughts on Munson before I open it up to you:

  • While Munson had certainly started to decline, he had simply fallen from an elite catcher to an above aveage one. He still had a long way to go. In 1978, Munson had accumulated 3.1 WAR. In 1979 (the year he died), Munson had earned 2.2 WAR through 97 games.
  • Among Hall of Fame catchers, Carlton Fisk (26.5), Gabby Hartnett (22.0), Ernie Lombardi (14.8), Yogi Berra (11.9), and Bill Dickey (9.0) earned the most WAR from their age 33 season until the end of their careers.
  • Let’s look at three non-Hall of Fame peers of Munson’s. Bill Freehan earned just 1.9 WAR from age 33 on. Freehan probably has the most similar career arc to Munson, though Freehan’s career ended quickly for different reasons. Gene Tenace was criminally underrated (and therefore underused) and produced 7.1 WAR in just 833 PAs from 33 on. Ted Simmons is a tricky case. He was worth 0.8 WAR from 33 on, but at age 33 he was worth 3.7 WAR (meaning from 34 on he was worth –2.9 WAR).
  • Give Munson another win for the remainder of 1979, a couple more for 1980, and another win or two for partial seasons beyond that (a conservative estimate). His 43.3 WAR could have been closer to 48 (or more) by the time he was done.
  • He won an MVP. He was a Rookie of the Year. He was a seven-time All Star (with three starts). He won three Gold Gloves.
  • He won two World Series rings. In his three World Series, he hit .373/.417/.493 in 16 games with a homer and 12 RBI. In the LCSs leading to those World Series, he hit .339/.333/.500 with a pair of homers in 14 games.
  • His best Hall of Fame voting percentage came in 1981, his first year on the ballot (15.5%). His five years of eligibility were waived. He stayed in the ballot for all fifteen years, receiving 6.5% of the vote in his final try (1995).

Let’s talk about Thurman Munson—his career, his life, his Hall of Fame candidacy… anything.

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105 Comments on "Let’s Talk About Thurman Munson"

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William J. Tasker
Guest

This is tough to say because I loved Thurmon Munson growing up a Yankee fan. And your arguments are compelling. But take Don Mattingly for example, while his career did not end in a plane crash, his production did end because of a chronic back problem. Aren’t they similar except for the reason the production stopped? Munson was great for a short window. But alas, the window was too short.

anthony fowler
Guest

david wright was better than mattingly

mosc
Guest

Munson was also the only guy who seemed to keep Steinbrener in line. Losing him contributed to a lot of turmoil and a few more billy martin hiring/firings than probably would have happened otherwise. I also think it likely that Munson would have had at least a shot at a managerial career, like Dickey and Berra before him. Sorry, but these things are what I remember way more than the decimal place on his 1978 WAR number.

Jim Bouldin
Guest

I doubt that he had any influence on Steinbrenner, who was a law unto himself, but he may well have had a stabilizing influence on Martin, and on the team more generally. He deserves some extra consideration just for playing in that circus IMO, with those two, plus Reggie.

Dan McCloskey
Guest

Although Reggie hated him, and Sparky Lyle once said “Munson’s not moody, he’s just mean. When you’re moody, you’re nice sometimes.”

MikeD
Guest
I don’t think Reggie hated Munson at all. It was the other way around, at least at the start. Munson was pissed at Reggie for his “I’m the straw that stirs the drink. Maybe I should say me and Munson, but he can only stir it bad.” quote. In time, though, they got along fine, and according to comments from other Yankees, Jackson and Munson were friendly once they got through 1977, and certainly by 1979 and a couple world championships together. Munson even flew Jackson a few times on his new jet, including a couple weeks prior to the… Read more »
Joseph
Guest

No, Munson was the guy who kept Steinbrener in line. It was Reggie Jackson–not. I remember Jackson saying he was the straw that stirred the drink, not Munson.

Forrest
Guest

I started gettin’ into the game in ’81/’82, and heard a lot about Munson from neighborhood kids & Yankee announcers (I was in the NY market). Tho I never got to see Munson play ’til repeats way later, I’ve always thought he was a HOF caliber catcher. The arguments against him are almost always a lack of accumulation of counting stats — which is a logical fallacy when you’re talkin’ about a guy who died before he could finish his career.

Lawrence Azrin
Guest
I don’t see this as a logical fallacy at all. I don’t mean to be cruel or callous or unfeeling, but we are evaluating Munson’s qualifications for “the baseball HOF for what a player _actually_ accomplished, not “the baseball HOF for what a player might have accomplished, if he hadn’t died while he was still a regular and somewhat productive”. The list of HOF-calibre players who did not make the HOF because of traumatic/repeated injuries is endless, starting with Pete Reiser, Tony Conigliaro, Fred Lynn, Herb Score, Urban Shocker (also died young), Ted Kluszewski, Ellis Burks, Hal Trosky, Eric Davis,… Read more »
Hartvig
Guest
My understanding is that knee problems had begun to take their toll on Munson even before his final season so it’s hard to predict how his career would have progressed from that point on. Given his power drop off in his final 2 seasons plus his career long aversion to base on balls it’s hard to imagine that he would have been any more effective as a DH than Ted Simmons was beyond that point- although to be fair, it should be pointed out that much of the reason that Simmons had a negative WAR after his age 33 season… Read more »
Lawrence Azrin
Guest
Hartvig – This is probably the point of view closest to mine; I would compare Munson to candidates on the current HOF ballot such as Walker, Dale Murphy, and McGriff; I would vote for other players ahead of them, but they (and Munson) would be entirely reasonable/credible HOF selections that wouldn’t lower the standards of the HOF. I might also compare Munson’s career (if not end of career…) to a fellow Yankee of three decades prior – Joe Gordon. Short careers but a lot of impact; highly respected as key players up-the-middle on great Yankees teams, both won MVPs. Both… Read more »
Dan McCloskey
Guest

Another factor is the Yankee captaincy was left unfilled from 1941 to 1976. It has to say something for Munson that he was named Lou Gehrig’s successor 35 years later.

Tmckelv
Guest
Adam, Thanks for this post. I try to stay out of HOF discussions involving Munson because he is my all-time favorite player and I couldn’t possibly be more biased. So I don’t even try. It was a very sad day for a 10 year-old in 1979 when Munson died. I still think about it every year on August 2nd. You mentioned his performances in the playoffs. My favorite all-time HR came in Game 3 of the 1978 ALCS against KC. Yanks were down by 2 going into the Bottom of the 8th. Then Thurman hit a long 2-run HR over… Read more »
Dan McCloskey
Guest
I was just thinking about that 435′ home run, Tmckelv. The only thing I wasn’t sure about was what year it happened. To put this in perspective for you younger folks, home runs to left center field in the old (but renovated) Yankee Stadium were virtually nonexistent, so that blast was truly unbelievable. To think it used to be much further to that part of the park makes you realize why Joe DiMaggio didn’t hit more homers. I also remember the speculation about Munson going to Cleveland to be closer to his family. I think it was more likely than… Read more »
Phil Gaskill
Guest

It was actually left center (found it on YouTube). But who’s counting? Wherever it was, it was a game-winning homer.

Ed
Guest
Munson wasn’t my favorite player but he is from my hometown so I definitely felt a connection to him. And like you, I was 10 years old when he died. I still remember my dad calling me up to tell me the news. Of course, I didn’t believe him so I turned on the radio and literally the first words I heard were “Thurman Munson has died in a plane crash”. Quite chilling… I used to have a copy of his rookie baseball card which I found at a flea market. Unfortunately a “friend” stole it from me when I… Read more »
Tmckelv
Guest
I remember growing up and it being a big deal (from the Yankee announcers) that Thurman Munson was the fist player to bat .300 and have 100 RBI for 3 straight seasons (1975-77) since Bill White did it 1962-64. Ironically Bill White was one of those announcers, which is probably why it was made out to be such a big deal. But as a little kid, I remember loving that. Obviously, time and sabermetrics have made that feat virtually worthless (what with BA and RBI not thought of as highly, AND numerous players having much longer streaks that 3 seasons… Read more »
Tmckelv
Guest

One last post on Munson. Anyone that has seen me make posts over the last couple of years knows that I am a HUGE fan of baseball cards. Well, here is my all-time favorite baseball card.

http://www.checkoutmycards.com/Cards/Baseball/1971/Topps/5/Thurman_Munson/1836474

Lawrence Azrin
Guest
Phil Rizzuto’s on-air commentary after Munson’s funeral, August 6th, 1979. It’s almost poetic: The Man in the Moon The Yankees have had a traumatic four days. Actually five days. That terrible crash with Thurman Munson. To go through all that agony, And then today, You and I along with the rest of the team Flew to Canton for the services, And the family…. Very upset. You know, it might, It might sound corny. But we have the most beautiful full moon tonight. And the crowd, Enjoying whatever is going on right now. They say it might sound corny, But to… Read more »
Dan McCloskey
Guest

That’s pretty great Lawrence. Thanks for sharing. Oh hell, I hope this doesn’t come across as a cheap attempt to divert traffic to my blog, but here’s what I wrote about that day: http://left-field.blogspot.com/2012/08/good-night-captain.html

John Nacca
Guest

A very close friend of mine (still to this day) was at that game you wrote about, him being a HUGE Orioles fan (still is). He is from Rochester, NY and just happened to have tickets for that game, before the accident. To this day, he still remembers it like yesterday, the fans just going berserk for all that time, chanting his name. Almost like someone witnessing a no-hitter or some other great sports feat, is to be able to say “I was there when….”

Dan McCloskey
Guest

Wow, that would have been unbelievable. Thanks for sharing, John. Someone asked on Twitter recently (it may have been Andy) if you could travel back in time to witness one game in baseball history, what would it be? I now have my answer.

Lawrence Azrin
Guest
More Phil Rizzuto on-air commentary: PRAYER FOR THE CAPTAIN There’s a little prayer I always say Whenever I think of my family or when I’m flying, When I’m afraid, and I am afraid of flying. It’s just a little one. You can say it no matter what, Whether you’re Catholic or Jewish or Protestant or whatever. And I’ve probably said it a thousand times Since I heard the news on Thurman Munson. It’s not trying to be maudlin or anything. His Eminence, Cardinal Cooke, is going to come out And say a little prayer for Thurman Munson. But this is… Read more »
Voomo Zanzibar
Guest
Prayer for the Captain There’s a little prayer I always say Whenever I think of my family or when I’m flying, When I’m afraid, and I am afraid of flying. It’s just a little one. You can say it no matter what, Whether you’re Catholic or Jewish or Protestant or whatever. And I’ve probably said it a thousand times Since I heard the news on Thurman Munson. It’s not trying to be maudlin or anything. His Eminence, Cardinal Cooke, is going to come out And say a little prayer for Thurman Munson. But this is just a little one I… Read more »
Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

oops, Azrin got there first….
_______________________________

I was six when my father told me the news.
He had never mentioned sports before, it wasn’t his thing.
But this was a big deal.
Something huge and terrible.

It was my introduction to baseball, and the Yankees, and mortality.

Lawrence Azrin
Guest

Voomoo Zanzibar,

It’s not a competition…

One question – did the Yankees happen to have the day off for the funeral, was the funeral scheduled for a day off, or did the Yankees have a game scheduled the day of the funeral, but it was re-scheduled?

Richard Chester
Guest

The Yankees did have a night game scheduled against the Orioles at the Stadium on the day of the funeral. It was an emotionally charged game won by the Yankees with all 5 of their RBIs coming off the bat of Bobby Murcer, who had delivered a eulogy for Munson at the funeral. Murcer had rejoined the Yankees just a few weeks earlier. The replay of that game has been shown on YES.

Dan McCloskey
Guest

If I’m not mistaken, they flew to Ohio and back on the day of the funeral and risked forfeiting the game that night, if something went wrong, to attend his funeral. Steinbrenner was adamant that they didn’t care as much about the game as they did about honoring Thurman. Pretty top rate move on his part.

Lawrence Azrin
Guest

#36/Richard and #37/Dan – thanks for filling me in. I guess “none of the above” would be the correct answer for my #35.

MikeD
Guest

Lawrence, my memory is the same as Dan’s @37. MLB was concerned about the entire team going to the funeral and the team making it back in time for their game, but Steinbrenner basically told them he didn’t care and would risk the automatic forfeit. Perhaps the only time in Steinbrenner’s ownership he was willing to accept a loss.

Doug
Guest

Not to start a clutch player discussion, but I just noticed that Munson had positive WPA every year of his career. Nice feather, especially considering how bad the Yanks were the first half of his career.

MikeD
Guest
Adam, interesting stuff. I’ve actually checked out your work prior and enjoy it, even as I try and figure out some of the calculations behind them all! I am curious about rating Torre ahead of others, including Munson. Torre appeared in just a touch over 900 games at catcher, while Munson appeared in just short of 1,300 games, roughly 40% more. The argument for players like Torre and Munson is the difficulty of the position, but once Torre was off the catcher position, and appearing at first base where the WAR threshold is much higher, then that leads to the… Read more »
Lawrence Azrin
Guest

Joe Torre is definitely going in the HOF as a manager, rendering questions about his HOF qualifications as a player moot (although it’s a nice little abstract exercise).

MikeD
Guest

We live for abstract exercises here!

Just to be clear. I’m not arguing against Torre as a player. He’s someone I’ve looked at many times, and usually walk away with no clear committment either direction. I was curious about Adam’s perspective sicne he’s firmly in the Torre camp.

I’m totally open to being swayed either direction on borderline cases.

Lawrence Azrin
Guest

I understand the HOF evaluates greatness as EITHER a player OR a manager, but I would like to see a few people considered under what I would call the “Lifetime Achievement Award”.

For instance, Lou Pinella or Gil Hodges may not be HOFers as either player or manager, but if you consider the totality of their career, they qualify for me. Mike Sciosa might qualify this way in five years.

I’d say the same for Lefty O’Doul, with his longtime involvement in the PCL and introducing baseball to Japan.

mosc
Guest

It’s meaningless because Torre is a HOF manager and certainly one of the very best player+manager baseball careers in baseball history. His career was not like the great Uecker or anything. His HOF plaque will most certainly read “Player and Manager”. Which reminds me. Ueker’s not getting any younger, he needs to start getting some consideration soon or we’ll miss one of the greatest acceptance speeches ever.

MikeD
Guest

That brings up an interesting question, and it’s perhaps something I once knew but have forgotten.

Can someone be elected twice into the HOF? First as a player, and then as a manager? Has it ever happened?

RJ
Guest

I’m sure someone could make a case for John McGraw going in as a player as well as a manager.

Lawrence Azrin
Guest

3,924 at bats (1,099 games) is just too short for a HOF player. To put that into perspective, he managed 4,762 GAMES.

RJ
Guest

There are clearly worse players in the Hall of Fame though. He accumulated 44.1 WAR in those 1099 games; that’s about the same WAR as Jim Rice in half the games.

Why did McGraw effectively retire at 29? Did he realise he was more valuable as a manager? (BTW, me picking a player whose playing career was cut short but could potentially have been HOF calibre had he had a full career – totally unintentional.)

Dan McCloskey
Guest

This is from McGraw’s SABR Bio:

“The Giants finished last that season but rose to second in 1903, even though McGraw’s much-injured knee finally gave out for good during spring training that year, effectively ending his career as a player.”

Lawrence Azrin
Guest

Fred Clarke and Cap Anson would be the two legitimate candidates as both manager and player I think of first. I think once you’re elected to the baseball HOF, that’s it, you are “in”.

The following were elected to the Basketball HOF as both player and coach:
Bill Sharman
Lenny Wilkens
John Wooden

Richard Chester
Guest

Did you know that Bill Sharman played in the Dodgers farm system in the early 1950s? He was called up to the parent team at the end of the 1951 season and on Sept. 27 was ejected from the game while sitting on the bench. That made him the only player to be ejected without ever participating in a game.

Howard
Guest

Frank Chance is another.

Richard Chester
Guest

Reply to #64
Howard: What I meant was that Sharman never played in any ML game ever.

Howard
Guest

@66..Richard, I just meant that Chance is another Hall of Fame player that could conceivably also be elected as a manager in response to post 54.

John Nacca
Guest

Uke is in the Hall as a Ford Frick winner, his speech was incredible…..

Richard Chester
Guest
I guess it would be appropriate to mention here the story of Ross Youngs’ career. He was in a similar situation as Munson’s. He played for the Giants from 1917 to 1926 and accumulated a .322 BA and a 130 OPS+. He was described by manager John McGraw as his finest outfielder. In his first 8 years he had a .332 BA and 138 OPS+. His stats dropped sharply in 1925 and was later diagnosed with what was then called Bright’s disease, a terminal kidney disease. He gutted out a short season in 1926 batting .306. He succumbed in 1927… Read more »
Jim Bouldin
Guest

You pull out some great stuff Richard, stuff that I would never have otherwise had any idea about. Your historical perspective is invaluable. Thanks for this.

I was going to say that we can call the 1970s the leader in tragedies to great players (Clemente, Bostock, Munson), but maybe not.

Jason Z
Guest

Let’s not forget the untimely tragic deaths of Mike Miley
and Danny Frisella.

Lawrence Azrin
Guest

Danny Thompson died of leukemia in late 1976 at age 29, after seven MLB seasons. He won the Hutch award in 1974.

MikeD
Guest
Ross Youngs was certainly a fine player, although I doubt he would have been a HOFer. He clearly was a player who was given extra-credit points by the Veteran’s Committee for the years lost after age 29, and really after age 27 when his skills were impacted the disease. It’s possible he might have made the HOF if he maintained his high level of player into his early 30s and then entered a graducal decline tha allowed him to play into his late 30s or maybe even reaching 40. If so, he might have accumulated 3,000 hits. Overall value delivered,… Read more »
Doug
Guest

Good point, Mick. Especially for a guy from Brooklyn.

Lawrence Azrin
Guest

#43/Brooklyn Mick –

Well, there’s a big difference between Munson and Campy, and of course it’s that Campanella missed 3 to 5 full MLB years at the very start of his career, between WWII and segregation. Even if he becomes a full-time MLB in 1946 (age 24, I don’t think there’s any way Munson would still be comparable to him.

With your handle, I figure you know that…

Brooklyn Mick
Guest
Lawrence, the main reason I made the comparison between Camp and Thurm is the obvious fact that they both had their careers prematurely ended due to accidents. Also, I thought it was cool that they were both New York guys who were both catchers, and who had, basically, 10 year MLB careers. I thought it was a better comparison than the Kirby Puckett one. I do, however, believe you have a valid point. When I look at Camp’s Negro League (NL) stats I see a nice slash of .314/.346/.481. The problem is that those numbers are based on only 500… Read more »
MikeD
Guest
I support the Dodgers returning to Brooklyn! They were before my time (the Brooklyn part of the Dodgers, that is) but being a baseball fan who goes to see both Yankee and Met games, as well as minor league games in the region, I’d happily welcome a third MLB team (back) to NY. They’ll be a cold wind blowing in Hades, though, before either NY team allows that to happen, and certainly not the Mets considering the league and the specific team. I’m also guessing the folks out in LA might have a slight issue, too. As for Campy’s Negro… Read more »
Brooklyn Mick
Guest
Mike, while I would love to see the Dodgers move back to Brooklyn, I realize it will never happen, but I still like to say it. As for Campy’s delay in reaching the Majors, I was responding to Lawrence’s assertion that Campy missed 3-5 years due to segregation, and I’m not sure that’s the case. He may have been ready and other factors got in the way, but the fact remains that although he didn’t get his call-up until his age 26 season, his first truly “great” year was his age 29 season, when he bagan his run of 3… Read more »
Howard
Guest

A big reason was that the Dodgers already had a good young and popular catcher in Bruce Edwards. Edwards was only 23 in 1947 when he batted .295 with 80 RBIs for the pennant winners, was named to the all-star team and was fourth in the NL MVP voting. That sounds like a guy with a future so it was no simple thing to just give Campanella the job.

Brooklyn Mick
Guest

Thanks Howard. Good point.

no statistician but
Guest
Hey Brooklyn Mick: As for Campanella’s Negro League stats showing only 500 plate appearances, that’s mainly because the official seasons were short and there aren’t records for a lot of the games actually played. Look up Josh Gibson and you’ll find under 2000 appearances in eighteen years. Also, If Campy played in the Negro Leagues for 9 years, until he was 23, then he started at age 15, meaning he was probably being broken in at first. He appears to have played for awhile in the Mexican league, too, possibly taking away from his time in the States. I think… Read more »
Brooklyn Mick
Guest

Thank you NSB. I had a feeling that the Negro League stats were probably incomplete.

Larry
Guest
@ Lawrence Azrin I agree about the “lifetime achievement” concept. I think one guy who is easily overlooked but who certainly qualifies is Larry Dierker. As a young pitcher, he was every bit the equal of Tom Seaver. Throwing 300+ innings in 1969 at age 23 likely shortened his career and would be unheard of today. For many years he was a columnist for the Chronicle and he has authored a couple of books. He was one of the finest color guys in the booth for several years before he went back down to the field to manage. I think… Read more »
MikeD
Guest
A few additional supportive stats for Munson that I pulled from a B-R blog that ran on the topic of catchers a little more than a year back. In WAR-per-game-played, Munson ranks fourth all time among catchers. Rk Player WAR/G 1 Mickey Cochrane .03455 2 Johnny Bench .03304 3 Mike Piazza .03091 4 Thurman Munson .03050 5 Bill Dickey .03041 6 Roy Campanella .02979 7 Yogi Berra .02920 8 Gary Carter .02889 9 Jack Clements .02750 10 Carlton Fisk .02693 11 Ivan Rodriguez .02679 12 Gabby Hartnett .02526 13 Jorge Posada .02499 14 Bill Freehan .02441 15 Wally Schang .02379… Read more »
Steven Page
Guest

Thanks for all the great commentary on Thurman Munson. He and Gene Tenace were my two favorite players in the 70’s.

The day Thurman’s plane crashed, my mom called me at work with the news. My best friend and I broke down and cried. I was twenty-three years old, and he was the first hero I had lost. He was a great ballplayer, and leader and inspired me every time I tried to play catcher.

Again, thanks for sharing these memories.

Jason Z
Guest
It’s nice to read these reflections of Thurman. As a Yankee fan since 1976 Thurman was my favorite player on the late 70’s edition. I will never forget August 2, 1979. Twelve years old, coming home from day camp and I turn on WNEW channel five to see a visibly shaken John Roland report that Thurman Munson was dead. I lost it, and was hysterical the rest of that evening. Four days later I cried again when they introduced Munson’s widow prior to the game against Baltimore. As I remember it, the fans went nuts for what seemed like ten… Read more »
Joseph
Guest

So, to sum this all up, everyone here agrees that it’s a crime that both Munson and Nettles aren’t in the HOF, right? And we’re going to start an organization to get them in. Send donations to start the organization to me.

William Donaldson
Guest

All the people who say he doesn’t belong
In his era he was the most dominant catcher in the American League
All pitchers feared him
If not for Bench he would probably be in the Hall
In the clutch he was by far then his peers in then league

John Autin
Editor
I used to be skeptical about Munson as a HOFer, but now I believe. 1) He’s 13th in career WAR among catchers, and 9th through age 32. 2) A key contributor in two championships and three pennants. 3) His postseason value was even greater than suggested by the raw numbers (.357/.874). In 30 games, his combined WPA was 1.467 — or 7.34 WPA per 150 games. That’s higher than anyone in MLB last year. P.S. Most catchers who carry a heavy workload have little value after age 32, anyway. Of the 20 besides Munson who caught 1200+ games through age… Read more »
Charlie
Guest

Munson belongs in the HOF based on hitting and fielding that produced a career WAR that ranks very highly for a catcher (top 15 all time). His WAR per game played is top 5 all time for the position. Only a small percentage of catchers caught as many games or innings. Almost every inning he played was as a catcher. Had he played in a hitters era his Raw numbers would have been higher. He was a regular all star, a ROY, MVP, 3x gold glover and captain of 2 World Series winning teams.

Christopher Hahn
Guest
Let’s put Thurman Munson’s 0.357 post-season batting average in the perspective it deserves. Among the 500 players in the history of baseball who have the most post-season ABs, exactly 7 of those 500 players have a higher post-season batting average than Thurman Munson… exactly 7. None of those 7 players have more post-season ABs than Thurman, none of them have more post-season hits than Thurman, none of them were Catchers, and ALL 7 of them are in the Hall Of Fame. They are, as follows: Lou Gehrig Hank Aaron Lou Brock Paul Molitor Carl Yastrzemski Frank Home Run Baker John… Read more »
Christopher Hahn
Guest
Let’s put Thurman Munson’s 0.357 post-season batting average in the perspective it deserves. Among the 500 players in the history of baseball who have the most post-season ABs, exactly 7 of those 500 players have a higher post-season batting average than Thurman Munson… exactly 7. None of those 7 players have more post-season ABs than Thurman, none of them have more post-season hits than Thurman, none of them were Catchers, and ALL 7 of them are in the Hall Of Fame. They are, as follows: Lou Gehrig Hank Aaron Lou Brock Paul Molitor Carl Yastrzemski Frank Home Run Baker John… Read more »
Christopher Hahn
Guest
Regarding my previous post, to qualify as being among the top 500 players in the history of baseball with the most post-season ABs a player must have at least 65 post-season ABs. Actually there are exactly 502 players, I just rounded it to 500 to make it easy. I derived this data from Sean Lahman’s Post-season Archives. So, again, to be clear: in that audience of the 502 players in baseball history with the most post-season ABs, exactly 7 of those players have a higher post-season batting average than Thurman Munson’s 0.357. And every one of those 7 players is… Read more »
Christopher Hahn
Guest

Question on Postseason WPA

On December 1, 2012 @ 3:54pm John Autin made a post which seems to reference Munson WPA in his 30 postseason games… Does anyone know where/how I can find this data? I’ve never heard about a postseason WPA or WAR, and I’m very interested in statistically significant comparison of Munson’s postseason batting and defensive stats to those metrics for other catchers.

Thanks, any help is much appreciated.

Richard Chester
Guest

If you are a PI subscriber go to the PI and set it for:
Batting Game Finder
Players with Most Matching Games in Multiple Years
Postseason
Defensive position = C
Get Report
A list of all catchers’ offensive stats will appear. There are 337 catchers on the list. Tops in WPA is Johnny Bench with 1.6. In a tie for second are Munson and Gary Carter with 1.5. Jorge Posada is dead last with -2.6.

Christopher Hahn
Guest

Thank you very much Richard. To date I’ve done all my research using Sean Lahman’s Archives and Baseball Reference but I’m at the point where I need to learn about things like WPA and where to easily make comparisons between players. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.

Christopher Hahn
Guest

For what it is worth, Thurman Munson is the only Catcher in history to throw out at least 3 runners attempting to steal in 6 different postseason series… And he is the only Catcher in history who threw out at least 7 runners attempting to steal in 3 different postseasons. 9 in 76 / 8 in 77 / 7 in 78

He is also 2nd all time in postseason CS with 24 in only 30 games!

Posada is #1 with 33 CS in 124 games.

Christopher Hahn
Guest

Thurman Munson is the only Catcher in history to win a Rookie of the Year Award, an MVP Award, a Gold Glove Award, win a World Series Championship, and Catch a Cy Young Award-winning Pitcher.

handsomeblackcowboybrady1953
Guest
handsomeblackcowboybrady1953

O.K.but Bill Freehan was an ELEVEN-TIME Al-Star Catcher and STILL NO TUMBLE FOR COOPERSTOWN?Explain that one,Billy Boy,since you’re four years older than I and obviously remember the great Tigers receiver.

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