Review: "Munson" by Marty Appel

Thuman Munson was a great catcher and team captain for the New York Yankees. He was tragically killed in a plane crash during the prime of his career. He had a great rivalry with Boston Red Sox catcher, Carlton Fisk, it even got personal a few times. Marty Appel has written a book about Munson and I decided that my brother, a big Red Sox fan should read it and write a review. It’s a great book and I knew that he couldn’t say anything bad about it. It proves that Munson’s greatness can unite people, even if they bleed Red Sox crimson.

I am a Red Sox Fan.

I usually run away from anything having to do with George Steinbrenner and his hated “Evil Empire” in New York. However, as painful as it is to admit, I liked Marty Appel’s Munson published by Doubleday. My reasons for liking this book had nothing to do with Munson’s career as a Yankee. I could have cared less about his “American League Rookie of the Year” honors in 1970, his seven All-Star Game appearances, three Gold Gloves awards, 1976 American League Most Valuable Player Award or anything even slightly associated with the pin-stripe wearing Yankee captain. My reasons for loving this book had nothing to do with baseball at all. I liked it because of Appel’s insight on Thurmon Munson the husband, father, friend and man.

Red Sox Nation may frown upon this but I have to be honest with myself about this book. This was a great read, and I enjoyed the insight and anecdotes that have never been told since the Yankee captain perished over 30 years ago. This book could not have been written by anyone else, and could only have been told by Appel who was a friend and biographer for Munson, and former Yankee PR director. Who better to give an inside look at the man, than someone who was there with him and who had direct access to his family, friends and teammates?

After reading Munson I have to admit that while I don’t want to see another Yankee enter the Baseball Hall of Fame, but I do feel that the Hall needs more Thurmon Munson’s in it. His love of family, friends and community kept pulling him home to Canton, Ohio, and in the end he died far to short in the town he loved so much. His whole reason for taking up flying was to allow him more time at home with his family and friends that he loved so much. Why did I pick this book up and read it? As a Red Sox fan I am not sure, but I am glad I did. I came away from it with a huge respect for him as a man, husband and father. I just wish number 15 had not worn the pin stripes for those years and had made his wish for playing with the Indians become a reality. Maybe that would have made reading this book about a Yankee captain a little easier for this Red Sox fan, and the world may still have this beloved captain.

-Gran Roberts
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