Munson: The Life and Death of a Yankee Captain

Munson: The Life and Death of a Yankee Captain

by Marty Appel
4.4 21

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Munson: The Life and Death of a Yankee Captain by Marty Appel

Our captain and leader has not left us, today, tomorrow, this year, next … Our endeavors will reflect our love and admiration for him.”
—Honorary plaque to Munson in Yankee Stadium

Thurman Munson is remembered by fans as the fiercely competitive, tough, and—most of all—inspiring Yankee captain and champion from the wild Bronx Zoo years. He is also remembered for his tragic death, at age thirty-two, when the private plane he was piloting crashed in Canton, Ohio, on August 2, 1979.

Munson is the intimate biography of a complex and larger-than-life legend. Written by former Yankees public relations director Marty Appel, who worked closely with Thurman throughout his career, Munson captures the little-known details of the young man from Canton and his meteoric rise to stardom in baseball’s most storied franchise. Appel examines the tumultuous childhood that led Thurman to work feverishly to escape Canton—and also the marriage and cultural roots that continually drew him back.

Appel also opens a fascinating door on the famed Yankees of the 1970s, recounting moments and stories that have never been told before. From the clubhouse and the dugout to the front office and the owner’s box, this thoughtful baseball biography delves into the affectionately gruff captain’s relationships with friends, fans, and teammates such as Lou Piniella, Bobby Murcer, Graig Nettles, and Reggie Jackson, as well as his colorful dealings with manager Billy Martin and his surprisingly close bond with owner George Steinbrenner. Munson paints a revealing portrait of a private Yankee superstar, as well as a nostalgic and revelatory look at the culture—and amazing highs and lows—of the 1970s New York Yankees teams. More than a biography, Munson is the definitive account of a champion who has not been forgotten and of the era he helped define—written with the intimate detail available only to a true insider.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385529280
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/07/2009
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 553,642
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Following his years as the Yankees’ PR director, Marty Appel became an Emmy Award–winning television producer and coauthored Munson’s bestselling autobiography, as well as a number of other books. Appel lives in New York City and appears frequently on YES Network, ESPN, MLB, and HBO.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Munson: The Life and Death of a Yankee Captain 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
KeenanM More than 1 year ago
Being named a Yankees Captain is one of the greatest honors in all of professional sports, with Baseball Almanac listing 13 in the last 110 years, and Thurman Munson was one of the greatest of the great Captains (Baseball Almanac, 2013). His exploits led to his being named a Captain of the New York Yankees in 1976, the first Captain since the passing of the legendary Lou Gehrig nearly 35 years earlier. An MVP award, a career .373 World Series average and the love and adoration of nearly every New York Yankees fan alive all contributed to a legend larger than life that is chronicled so well in this book.  Marty Appel originally interviewed Thurman Munson multiple times, spanning over 12 hours from 1977-1978, chronicling the interview in Thurman Munson: An Autobiography, which was sold in the late 1970s and early 1980s. However, he felt there was something missing in the original autobiography as it did not delve deeply into the person behind the plate, it was more focused on the baseball player and who he was at the time. The Life and Death of a Yankee Captain: Munson, goes much further into detail about the upbringing and contributing factors behind the surly and determined façade we were presented with as Yankees fans adoring Thurman Munson (Appel, 2009).  We are treated to stories from his youth, educating the reader on the nuances of his early childhood life and the characteristics of a driven youth that translated so well to his MVP career with the New York Yankees. We learn of how he relentlessly studied every sport he ever participated in, wanting nothing to do with losing. There is extensive interviews with childhood friends detailing the stories you won’t see in the New York Post and other papers of it’s ilk, showing us how he dominated basketball, football and baseball leagues, moving positions to create better opportunities for the team. It was this team-first attitude that drove him to greatness and Marty Appel catches the heartwarming as well as the funny stories that draw us in closer to the man behind the plate. Since Appel was the Yankees PR director from 1973-1977, we are treated to wonderful insight covering Thurman Munson’s MVP years and what led to the three straight World Series trips the Yankees made from 1976-1978, with Thurman Munson chief in the mix. His intimacy with Munson and position in the franchise also allowed him unparalleled access to what led to Thurman Munson wanting to fly his own plane and travel home at every opportunity. This desire to be the family man every great father wants to be is laid out for the reader in such amazing detail that I felt like I knew Thurman Munson after reading this book, even though it had been more than 30 years since the man graced this earth with his presence.  Finally, after Appel endears this warrior, family man and baseball hero to you, he takes him away in a tragic ending. I was too young to ever see Thurman Munson play baseball, but I have heard whispers of his greatness from my father. This book, however, made me feel as if I could see Thurman Munson hitting a home run in the World Series, it made the tension in the Yankees clubhouse palpable and the tenderness he felt for his wife and children moved me. The ending of this book takes the man from your heart after Appel so deftly inserts him into it with his writing and the tender backstory of the legend. Appel also tries to give you closure on the next page by giving you the technical details of the crash that took this man from the hands of this world, details that were not there when we learned of his passing in 1979, but help spread a salve on what is a tragic wound in the hearts of Yankees fans everywhere.  If you want to read a book telling you about how modern athletes are pampered and bad role models, this book will give you that perspective as it shows you how a man should live his life. Thurman Munson put his family before his career, never struggled with that choice and worked diligently to ensure he earned every penny that came his way, every hug from his children and every tear that you will shed by reading this book. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He was so excited when he opened up this book!! He said its a must read for Yankee fans!
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TheAbbs More than 1 year ago
My husband Andrew was born in Brooklyn.He LOVES the New York Yankees so much so that now I know more names of past Yankees then I do of my team the O's. Yes thats right our teams hate each other. Not as bad as the red sox but... were married so it is fun to get on each other teams not that it is hard with my team we suck!!! Anyway my husband was born in 1966 and his hero as a boy was the great and the only really Yankee in his eye Thurman Munson. So I read about this book coming out and just had to get it for him I was on a damn waiting list from my home town book store all I have to say is love being a member of Barnes and Noble.Anyway he and I both read the book. We both cried and laughted and really really loved this book. Knowing more about Munson home life and what he went though as a boy,husband,and father made you understand him more. It is to sad he died so young he would have been a great manger of the New York Yankees. O just got a call from my husband just heard the big man died Gergoge Steinbreener died very weird I was writting this when that happen. From what I got from the book Munson just wanted to play ball and he thought George got in the way sometime, they both wanted the Yankees to be the best I think both would be very proud of the team and this book. Also dont tell my Husband I said anything nice about the Yankees he will never let me live it down. This is a great read and if you are a true sports fan,baseball fan or even like the Yankees you should read this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
HAIRANETTE More than 1 year ago
What a great story teller Marty Appel is I could not put this book down....It makes you miss ..Munson even more...and what his life could have been...this book is great gift for yankee fans and especially all those Munson fans and there are many.....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Andy_23 More than 1 year ago
Appel held nothing back when it came to the multiple relationships that Munson had: his wife and kids, the boss, his teamates and his family. Munson could have clearly self-destructed had his father been around any more. What a horrible, despicable man he was! All the stories that the many people who knew Thurman over his life were woven throughout the book brilliantly. Bottom line: Thurman Munson was a good man, a great family man, and a baseball player worthy of induction into the Hall of Fame.
HowieBaseball More than 1 year ago
With the opening of the new Yankee Stadium and the return of the team to the Fall Classic, it is fitting this book came out this year. #15 will always be held close to the heart of Yankee fans from the '70's much as #3 is revered by NASCAR fans. He represented the true Yankee; blue collar baseball. This book is a well written tribute to an iconic player and someone who left us too soon. In case you didn't know it- Thurman hit the first home run at "new" Yankee Stadium when it reopened after being refurbished. This would be a great gift for any baseball fan from the '70's and a great read for anyone who loves the game.
Nishuva More than 1 year ago
Thurman Munson's story can be interesting at times. Not inspiring, but an easy summer read. Not highly recommended unless you just HAVE to know details of the story.
BooksnballNYC More than 1 year ago
I found The "MUNSON" book very enjoyable. It gave me many insights into the back ground and makeup of this Yankee legend. It kept me interested from page to page. Details about his growing up in Ohio in a not so perfect home were compelling. His love of family was emphasised and his relationships with his teammates revealed more then what the general press had reported. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves sports and a great story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
billybobt More than 1 year ago
bery good book, with only problem is writers tend to exagerate the importance of writers and journalist and reporters in thier books and this is another example. Even though you know the story you will find a tear on your cheek at the end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Marty Appel gives a much fuller account of the life of my favorite Yankee player--particularly his upbringing and strained relationship with his father. A treat for any baseball fan. My only gripe is that Appel tends to repeat facts/anecdotes. Much the same as his style in Now Pitching for the Yankees.
glenn1075 More than 1 year ago
A must read for any Yankee fan of the 70's and 80's - Munson was to Yankee fans what John Lennon was to music fans
mick7marv More than 1 year ago
Marty Appel has put together not only a very entertaining, interesting biography, but also a very conclusive writing of the tragic accident. I grew up a huge Mickey Mantle fan, however, due to my young age and lack of coverage of baseball games back in the 50's, I wasn't a first-hand witness to his career as I was with Munson's. Being the same age, 62, I was able to relate better to the stages of his career and life. In today's world of multi-million dollar free agent signings, we could use a player of Munson's 'throwback to the old-fashioned work ethic' that seems to be lost. On August 2nd, 1979, the career of a great Yankee ended. It wasn't until I read this new book that I finally got closure of the actual accident and aftermath. I once met the author when he worked for the Yankees. He's a no-nonsence man with great integrity and this comes through in the book. Just possibly the best Yankee book I've read, and I've read hundreds.