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Thursday, August 23, 2018

Documents shed light on the life and death of Thurman Munson

The anguish still rises unmistakably from the pages of the deposition, which is now nearly 40 years old. In it, a witness named David Hall hesitates as he testifies, and a lawyer asks if he needs a short break. Hall declines and continues. By the time he is done, he has provided a devastating account of the final moments in the life of Thurman Munson, the Yankees catcher who died at age 32 when the plane he was flying crashed short of the runway at Akron-Canton Airport in Ohio on Aug. 2, 1979.

spanx for the memories Posted: August 23, 2018 at 10:30 AM | 48 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: new york yankees

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   1. perros Posted: August 23, 2018 at 11:05 AM (#5732233)
Nothing new except for the nosy lawyer. Athletes should leave flying to professionals.
   2. Master of the Horse Posted: August 23, 2018 at 11:18 AM (#5732244)
Really interesting and it connects to some other discussions on catchers where Munson was pushed as a guy for the hall of fame on the basis that sure he died but he was on hall of fame track and would have played longer.

Two items from the article make that claim kind of dubious:

Two months before Monahan’s deposition, Jackson — Munson’s co-star and rival, and then, eventually, his friend — testified that Munson had become weary of the sport he played and all the time spent away from his wife and three children.

“He was more interested in flying that ####### plane than he was in playing baseball — to me,” Jackson testified.


But Martin also acknowledged that Munson, who played 11 years in the major leagues, was wearing down from the rigors of his position, and that he required more time at first base, the outfield and designated hitter to relieve pressure on his legs and knees.

And also interesting is that Munson was a user. No judgement here but I gather a lot of this crowd do make judgements on this stuff so wanted to put this out there.

In her deposition, Diana Munson was asked if her husband took greenies, when he played, a reference to the amphetamines that many players, in the decades before drug testing, took for the jolt of energy they provided. She said that he had, but added that she thought he had stopped doing so once he started flying.

“As a flier, he knew he could not take things into his body,’’ she testified. “So after he started flying, I never worried about greenies again.”
   3. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 23, 2018 at 11:30 AM (#5732249)
In her deposition, Diana Munson was asked if her husband took greenies, when he played, a reference to the amphetamines that many players, in the decades before drug testing, took for the jolt of energy they provided. She said that he had, but added that she thought he had stopped doing so once he started flying.

“As a flier, he knew he could not take things into his body,’’ she testified. “So after he started flying, I never worried about greenies again.”


This is weird. Pilots in WW2 basically lived on amphetamines. Lots of other soldiers and sailors, too.
   4. bunyon Posted: August 23, 2018 at 11:32 AM (#5732253)
This lawyer sounds like a real gem.

What this article and the discussion about Posey cement for me is: The bar is too high for catchers. The job is just too physically demanding and there are all these great catchers where we all say something like, "Boy, they sure were on a HOF pace until they turned 30."

A catcher at 30 is like a position player at 40. Any catcher playing at a HOF player into their 30s should be a HOFer.
   5. bunyon Posted: August 23, 2018 at 11:33 AM (#5732255)
snapper: I thought the same thing. Munson should have been using greenies. If not when he was "just" playing, certainly after he started flying.

And flying himself between cities in season? Carrying Reggie F. Jackson and Billy F. Martin on the plane with him? Holy ####.
   6. The Good Face Posted: August 23, 2018 at 11:56 AM (#5732274)
What this article and the discussion about Posey cement for me is: The bar is too high for catchers. The job is just too physically demanding and there are all these great catchers where we all say something like, "Boy, they sure were on a HOF pace until they turned 30."

A catcher at 30 is like a position player at 40. Any catcher playing at a HOF player into their 30s should be a HOFer.


For some time now, I've treated 45 WAR from a catcher to be about the same as 60 WAR from a non-catcher for HOF purposes. Not necessarily an automatic entry, but enough to merit serious consideration.
   7. Perry Posted: August 23, 2018 at 04:10 PM (#5732469)
A catcher at 30 is like a position player at 40. Any catcher playing at a HOF player into their 30s should be a HOFer.


Makes Molina's Iron Man thing this year at 35 even more impressive. (Making no judgment about his HOF-worthiness, here, just his bad-assery.)
   8. RMc Has Bizarre Ideas to Fix Baseball Posted: August 23, 2018 at 04:41 PM (#5732492)
Well...Munson was 32 and had 46 WAR, including 2.4 in '79. Say he finishes that season with 48.

His top comp is Steinbach, who played until he was 37, putting up about 9 WAR those last five years. His other comps weren't that good, though, so let's give him three years and 5 WAR.

Another ring in '80 or '81, maybe?

He finishes with ~2,000 hits, .280-ish AVG and about 53 WAR. And he's a "real Yankee".

I think he gets in, eventually.
   9. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: August 23, 2018 at 06:51 PM (#5732559)
I was just a few weeks shy of my 9th birthday when Munson died. I remember Don Gillis announcing it on TV before I went to bed and I couldn’t sleep. I didn’t understand why I was so sad. Munson played for the Yankees, he was a jerk and Carlton Fisk was better anyway. I remember having a fairly deep conversation with my mother that night as she explained that there were things more important than baseball.
   10. stig-tossled, hornswoggled gef the typing mongoose Posted: August 23, 2018 at 07:03 PM (#5732565)
I remember having a fairly deep conversation with my mother that night as she explained that there were things more important than baseball
.

At which point you were, I trust, taken away from her posthaste.
   11. puck Posted: August 23, 2018 at 08:13 PM (#5732599)
I had never read about the details of the crash. So I did not know Munson was still alive after the impact, or that he was left in the burning plane. Damn.
   12. puck Posted: August 23, 2018 at 08:15 PM (#5732600)
Nothing new except for the nosy lawyer. Athletes should leave flying to professionals.


Or be both? Like Bruce Dickinson (lead singer for Iron Maiden, but also a serious fencer).
   13. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: August 23, 2018 at 08:41 PM (#5732611)
Like Bruce Dickinson (lead singer for Iron Maiden, but also a serious fencer).


Pfft...Brian May and his PHD in astrophysics sh*ts all over anyone else's dual interests/career thing.
   14. TVerik, who wonders what the hell is "Ansky" Posted: August 23, 2018 at 09:55 PM (#5732663)
I was in Cooperstown as a visitor a few years ago. One of the stores had a framed picture of Munson along with a copy of his pilot's license. I remember thinking, "What kind of person would buy this and hang it on his wall?"
   15. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: August 23, 2018 at 10:22 PM (#5732680)
There is a market for that kind of macabre stuff. I’m honestly more surprised that it was still available.
   16. The importance of being Ernest Riles Posted: August 24, 2018 at 12:52 AM (#5732754)

Pfft...Brian May and his PHD in astrophysics sh*ts all over anyone else's dual interests/career thing.


Moe Berg says hi
   17. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: August 24, 2018 at 02:33 AM (#5732757)
Bombshell 1930s/40s actress Hedy Lamarr invented and patented frequency hopping. Then she donated it to the U.S. military at the start of World War 2 to help fight Nazis. It would have prevented our torpedoes from being signal jammed. But the Navy never even used it. It's now the basis for Wi-Fi and GPS.
   18. QLE Posted: August 24, 2018 at 04:13 AM (#5732758)
For some time now, I've treated 45 WAR from a catcher to be about the same as 60 WAR from a non-catcher for HOF purposes. Not necessarily an automatic entry, but enough to merit serious consideration.


As someone with a focus on the best years of a player's career, I regard 40 WAR in a catcher's ten best years equal to 50 WAR from a regular position player- the baseline at which induction to the HOF/HOM/whichever organization you want is merited.

On the one hand, by this standard, Munson is clearly deserving- the problem is, by this standard, he's tied with Ted Simmons, who was one-and-done with the BBWAA. The good news is, if Simmons gets in the next time the Modern Baseball committee meets, it should help in making the argument for Munson- the problem is, it will be a committee that both has a lot of other great players to consider and selectors who aren't doing a good job at selecting, so that may take quite a while.
   19. Lassus Posted: August 24, 2018 at 07:33 AM (#5732770)
invented and patented frequency hopping.

With avant-garde composer/pianist George Antheil.
   20. stig-tossled, hornswoggled gef the typing mongoose Posted: August 24, 2018 at 10:16 AM (#5732839)
She opted not to finish her degree, but Ladytron's Mira Aryono is no dummy, per Wikipedia --

Aroyo pursued postgraduate research studies in genetics; she was a D.Phil. student in the Division of Molecular Genetics, Department of Biochemistry of the University of Oxford.

Contrary to claims that she completed her D.Phil., specifically in or around 2002 ... Aroyo left science and her D.Phil. programme before completing it and graduating. In an interview with The Sunday Mail, she explained that, "We all had jobs when we started Ladytron then little by little we ditched them. I was a geneticist doing a PhD and realizing lab work wasn't for me. We were doing Ladytron at the same time and I was enjoying it more. It was easier and more fun". In a later interview, when asked, "Apparently you were enrolled as a PhD student in Oxford. Seems like a pretty prestigious post did you ever have any doubts leaving academia for Ladytron?", Aroyo replied, "Yes. For the first 3 years of Ladytron I was juggling both, until it became apparent that I would be compromising both if I continued that way. I was young and it seemed a lot more fun at the time to travel the world playing music."
   21. stig-tossled, hornswoggled gef the typing mongoose Posted: August 24, 2018 at 10:21 AM (#5732847)
Greg Graffin of Bad Religion (a band I've ever been able to get into, though I respect their accomplishments -- see also Who, The) has a PhD in the history of science from Cornell. Looks like he's taught there & at UCLA.
   22. bunyon Posted: August 24, 2018 at 10:31 AM (#5732849)
the problem is, by this standard, he's tied with Ted Simmons, who was one-and-done with the BBWAA.

This is the reverse of the "he's as good as X, so should be in" argument (where X is the worst HOFer). Simply being better than the worst HOFer shouldn't merit induction.

By the same token, being the same as the best mistake should. Simmons should be a HOFer. So, if Munson is equivalent, he should too.
   23. SandyRiver Posted: August 24, 2018 at 01:09 PM (#5733060)
Greg Graffin of Bad Religion (a band I've ever been able to get into, though I respect their accomplishments -- see also Who, The) has a PhD in the history of science from Cornell. Looks like he's taught there & at UCLA.

A somewhat similar 19th century counterpart might be Alexander Borodin, a highly respected organic chemist with some significant discoveries to his name, and also one of The Five, Russian composers dedicated to writing the music of their own country, thus breaking from classical norms that were mainly from western Europe. Many of his compositions remain popular with lovers of classical music and with orchestral conductors.
   24. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: August 24, 2018 at 01:36 PM (#5733088)
Like Bruce Dickinson (lead singer for Iron Maiden, but also a serious fencer).

Glad you clarified that it wasn't THE Bruce Dickinson.
   25. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 24, 2018 at 08:08 PM (#5733366)
Dexter Holland of the Offspring went back and completed his PhD in molecular biology last year.
   26. QLE Posted: August 24, 2018 at 08:55 PM (#5733399)
By the same token, being the same as the best mistake should. Simmons should be a HOFer. So, if Munson is equivalent, he should too.


Oh, agreed in terms of merit- the issue I'm noting is that of convincing other people of that point.....
   27. Yanigan Posted: August 25, 2018 at 03:17 PM (#5733608)
Adding one more name to the list of the multi-talented: Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, Steely Dan/Doobie Brothers guitarist and consultant to the U.S. Department of Defense.
   28. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: August 25, 2018 at 03:51 PM (#5733616)
Or be both? Like Bruce Dickinson (lead singer for Iron Maiden, but also a serious fencer).


Thing is, Dickinson's no joke as a pilot. From Wiki:


Dickinson learned to fly recreationally in Florida in the 1990s[122] and now holds an airline transport pilot's licence. He regularly flew Boeing 757s in his role as captain for the now-defunct UK charter airline Astraeus,[123] which, from 16 September 2010, employed him as Marketing Director.[124] One of his key roles in that position was to promote Astraeus' services by increasing their number of videos,[125] leading to the UK Civil Aviation Authority releasing a video featuring Dickinson on aircraft loading safety in June 2011.[126]

...

His role as a pilot has led to some high-profile flights, which include returning a group of British RAF pilots from Afghanistan in 2008,[136] 200 UK citizens from Lebanon during the Israel/Hezbollah conflict in 2006,[137] and 180 stranded holiday makers from Egypt following the collapse of XL Airways UK in September 2008.[138] In addition, he flew Rangers F.C. and Liverpool F.C. to away matches in Israel and Italy in 2007 and 2010 respectively.[139]

For the 2008–09 "Somewhere Back in Time World Tour", he piloted Iron Maiden's chartered Boeing 757, dubbed "Ed Force One", specially converted to carry the band's equipment between continents,[66] which subsequently led to a documentary film, Iron Maiden: Flight 666.[140] Dickinson flew "Ed Force One" again for "The Final Frontier World Tour" in 2011.[141] For the 2016 The Book of Souls World Tour, the band upgraded to a Boeing 747-400 jumbo jet, which meant that Dickinson had to undertake type conversion to fly the aircraft.[76] In 2014, Dickinson purchased a Fokker Dr.I triplane replica G-CDXR and joined the Great War Display Team, which re-enacts First World War air battles at airshows across the UK.[142]
   29. Tom T Posted: August 25, 2018 at 04:29 PM (#5733627)
Dexter Holland of the Offspring went back and completed his PhD in molecular biology last year.


The punk scene is rife with bands whose members went off and completed PhDs. One iteration of the local Rattail Grennadier (which morphed into Squirtgun ... "Social" from Kevin Smith's "Mallrats") had 3 of the 4 members who now are PhD researchers/faculty (one in molecular genetics, working on Alzheimer's; one in neuroscience, studying CNS correlates of alternative medicine treatments; and one who is a Cervantes expert). 2 of the 3 are still notably active in the musical scene.
   30. Where have you gone Brady Anderson? Posted: August 25, 2018 at 07:37 PM (#5733657)
I had a history professor in college who was the lead singer of Sweet Baby, a punk band that was part of the same scene that produced Green Day and the Offspring. He told a lot of dumb jokes, and was about as awesome as you would expect.
   31. bunyon Posted: August 25, 2018 at 08:29 PM (#5733679)
Oh, agreed in terms of merit- the issue I'm noting is that of convincing other people of that point.....

Ah. Sorry. Agreed.
   32. stig-tossled, hornswoggled gef the typing mongoose Posted: August 25, 2018 at 09:19 PM (#5733694)
Gregg Turner of the Angry Samoans taught math at New Mexico Highlands U. Last thing I read said he'd been denied tenure after 5 years as an assistant prof; I have no idea how that turned out.

Several punk musicians over the years have gone to the (even) dark(er) side & become lawyers. I can think of Circle Jerks drummer Lucky Lehrer & Effigies frontman John Kezdy as examples.

Terry Chimes, the Clash's first drummer, is a chiropractor.
   33. asinwreck Posted: August 25, 2018 at 09:55 PM (#5733699)
Bombshell, the documentary on Lamarr is good. It starts with Mel Brooks but is actually pretty serious.

I was at Munson's final game, along with maybe 10,000 other Comiskey diehards. He played first as the Yankees beat the tar out of the White Sox. I remember just being happy that the Sox scored a run in the ninth inning so they'd have a highlight. (They were so bad that Don Kessinger quit as manager the next day, but that understandably was not the big baseball news of the week.)
   34. Morty Causa Posted: August 25, 2018 at 10:15 PM (#5733704)
Hedy Lamarr the actress didn't have much going for her besides her incredible beauty. James Stewart made her look good in the romantic comedy Come Live With Me and she gave it her all as the commie airhead with Gable in Comrade X.
   35. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: August 25, 2018 at 10:20 PM (#5733705)
Dexter Holland of the Offspring went back and completed his PhD in molecular biology last year.

The punk scene is rife with bands whose members went off and completed PhDs. One iteration of the local Rattail Grennadier (which morphed into Squirtgun ... "Social" from Kevin Smith's "Mallrats") had 3 of the 4 members who now are PhD researchers/faculty (one in molecular genetics, working on Alzheimer's; one in neuroscience, studying CNS correlates of alternative medicine treatments; and one who is a Cervantes expert). 2 of the 3 are still notably active in the musical scene


Greg Graffin, lead singer of Bad Religion, got his PhD in evolutionary biology a while back. I read this thesis though and it was lightweight.

Edit -Ah nuts, missed 21
   36. GregD Posted: August 25, 2018 at 11:32 PM (#5733728)
I had a history professor in college who was the lead singer of Sweet Baby, a punk band that was part of the same scene that produced Green Day and the Offspring. He told a lot of dumb jokes, and was about as awesome as you would expect.
Definitely yes with Rancid/Op Ivy and basically yes with Green Day--though very technically Green Day was desperately trying to get in to the Gilman Street scene and not really getting to play there for much of the period--too poppy. Not really for The Offspring, who were a SoCal band. If you're interested in the Gilman Street project scene, Turn it Around is really good and comprehensive. Funded by Green Day but long parts of it aren't really about Green Day but about Tim Armstrong and his role in the scene via Op Ivy and Rancid. The film has stuff about Sweet Baby but I can't honestly remember what.

Ed to add: I checked a little, and maybe was too strong on Offspring. They always lived in LA but they did regularly (they say once every 3 months) drive up and play Gilman Street. So not a part of the scene like Rancid/OpIvy/Green Day--they attended hundreds of shows before they played Gilman--but sort of a part of it is probably more fair.
   37. QLE Posted: August 26, 2018 at 05:14 AM (#5733745)
Gregg Turner of the Angry Samoans taught math at New Mexico Highlands U. Last thing I read said he'd been denied tenure after 5 years as an assistant prof; I have no idea how that turned out.


Ultimately won both a settlement and tenure after the AAUP got involved, and is still on the faculty to the present day.
   38. BDC Posted: August 26, 2018 at 08:53 AM (#5733753)
I was on a committee last year with Luc Robène, a professor of sport history at the University of Bordeaux who has apparently been guitarist for a string of bands whose popularity I am not qualified to judge, but some of them have their own Wikipedia pages :)
   39. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 26, 2018 at 12:53 PM (#5733811)
Various members of Sha Na Na include a linguistics professor, a professor of Bible studies, an ER physician, an orthopedic surgeon, a Yale law grad, an English professor, and Jon "Bowzer" Bauman.
   40. SoSH U at work Posted: August 26, 2018 at 01:07 PM (#5733818)
All of these punk/other profession combos and no mention of Scott Radinsky.

   41. Lassus Posted: August 27, 2018 at 08:20 AM (#5734083)
One of the members of Blotto was my college GF's high school English teacher.
   42. Tom T Posted: August 27, 2018 at 10:56 AM (#5734148)
Greg Graffin, lead singer of Bad Religion, got his PhD in evolutionary biology a while back. I read this thesis though and it was lightweight.


Heh. All I know is that Flav (Giorgini) has the same h-number as I do, but he's actually got publications in Nature and Nature Genetics. I can't match that....
   43. Swoboda is freedom Posted: August 27, 2018 at 01:38 PM (#5734248)
Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, the Chiefs lineman, had graduated medical school and is now doing his residency, while he continues to play.

John Urschel, now retired as lineman for the Ravens, got his master's degrees in mathematics from Penn State while e was playing and is pursuing a Ph.D. in mathematics from MIT.

Of course they are both Canadian.
   44. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 27, 2018 at 01:47 PM (#5734252)
Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, the Chiefs lineman, had graduated medical school and is now doing his residency, while he continues to play.
Concussion specialist?
   45. SoSH U at work Posted: August 27, 2018 at 01:55 PM (#5734257)
Concussion specialist?


Some football player just retired this week to pursue that very line of study.
   46. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 27, 2018 at 02:05 PM (#5734266)
Some football player just retired this week to pursue that very line of study.
As a researcher, a subject, or both?
   47. stig-tossled, hornswoggled gef the typing mongoose Posted: August 27, 2018 at 02:35 PM (#5734282)
Deniz Tek of seminal Aussie punk band Radio Birdman is some sort of hot-shot pilot &, per Wikipedia "a trained ER doctor and ex-navy flight surgeon who currently splits his time working in emergency departments in hospitals in NSW, Australia and Hawaii."

   48. Hysterical & Useless Posted: August 29, 2018 at 11:33 AM (#5735448)
41. Lassus
Posted: August 27, 2018 at 08:20 AM (#5734083)


One of the members of Blotto was my college GF's high school English teacher.


Egad, someone else who knows of Blotto! A friend of mine was in the rep troupe at the NYS theatre in Albany back in the 70s, one or 2 of the band members was in the troupe as well.

When McCartney got busted for pot in Japan, I don't think a week had passed before Blotto had their parody ("Banned in Japan") on the radio.

And I still wanna be a lifeguard.

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