"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

After Thought

Nice piece by Sam Dolnick in the Times yesterday about a paltry tribute to Thurman Munson:

Thurman Munson’s widow, Diana, has never been to Thurman Munson Way, but she said that her husband would have appreciated the street’s low profile.

“He wasn’t about the big superhighway and mainstream streets,” she said. “It fits his personality so much more that it would be an out-of-the-way street and be something that not a lot of people would embrace.”

“After 30 years,” she said, “he would just be pleased that they’re still talking about him.”

It remains unclear exactly why this street was chosen to honor Munson. Henry J. Stern, who was a member of the City Council’s parks committee when the honor was bestowed in 1979, could not recall the exact circumstances. But he said it was probably chosen because it was reasonably close to Yankee Stadium.

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1 OldYanksFan   ~  Apr 19, 2010 10:50 am

They remember his clashes with Reggie Jackson over who was the franchise player.

“I’m the straw that stirs the drink,” Jackson said soon after he joined the Yankees. “Munson thinks he can be the straw that stirs the drink, but he can only stir it bad.”

I know you're a fan of Reggie's Alex, but I have never, and can't ever forgive him for that statement.

I've been a fan since the dark days of '65. I remember Munson coming up, hitting .302 his rookie year, and anchoring a team that went from terrible to in the thick of it.

Reggie may have taken us over the top. But imagine, just IMAGINE IF when ARod came here, he said:

I’m the straw that stirs the drink. (ARod said soon after he joined the Yankees) Jeter thinks he can be the straw that stirs the drink, but he can only stir it bad.

He would be hated with a passion that would never die.

Can you imagine any big FA coming to a team and saying that about the team leader, Captain and best player???

I will never forgive Reggie.

P.S. Reggie was NEVER our 'franchise player'. He was a hired gun, an Oakland A, here for 4 1/2 years. A great player, but a real shithead in NY, who didn't deserve the honor of wearing Pinstripes.

P.P.S. And it's "badly"!

2 Alex Belth   ~  Apr 19, 2010 11:02 am

Um, can you forgive Reggie his 77 World Series? And uh, who cares what he said? By the way, last I checked, Yanks didn't win dick without him.

3 RagingTartabull   ~  Apr 19, 2010 11:14 am


[1] this all happened before my time, so my perspective is more of a hindsight 20/20 thing. Reggie was damn near impossible to deal with, but the fact remains that he was one of the best "clutch" (whatever that means) hitters of his generation. The team was "on the brink" in '76, he went a long way to pushing them over the line into championship caliber.

As far as comparing the impact of the Straw quote to if A-Rod had said the same thing about Jeter, sorry but I'm just not buying it. Thurman was a former Rookie of the Year and MVP, but Reggie was the guy with 3 rings.

In March of 1977, the one thing Reggie could call himself that Thurman just couldn't was "winner." It might be a dick move, but it is what it is.

As for the "Honor of wearing Pinstripes"...come on. Could we please not?

4 seamus   ~  Apr 19, 2010 11:20 am

mans, yinz getting serious. I bet they picked an out of the way street so that it would not impact businesses or too many families when you changed their address.

5 RIYank   ~  Apr 19, 2010 11:27 am

The Sox and Rays are already playing. They do this every Patriot's Day, something to do with the Marathon, but I've never been able to figure out what. (The race started at 10:00.)

Lackey's off to a somewhat rough start.

6 RagingTartabull   ~  Apr 19, 2010 11:35 am

[5] isn't something like the marathon is meant to go right by Fenway around 2 o'clock or so, right when (presumably) the game would be getting out?

7 The Mick536   ~  Apr 19, 2010 11:46 am

I will leave my words about Reggie to another day, but when he came here he was the straw that stirred the drink. Without him there would not have been championships in 1977 and 1978. Had he not been so badly treated, I contend he would have stayed and become a monarch. And, lest I let the moment pass, what about Goose, Sparky (a Cy Young), Lou, Mick The Quick, Chambliss, Willie, Bucky, Puff, Figgy, Holtzman, Blair, and Mike Torres.

Let's not forget the Esquire article. It did cause a stir. But, I forgive A-Rod because he didn't know how important Jeter was to the team.

I am not a fan of Thurman Munson. I will not forgive him for not appreciating what it meant to be the Captain. I don't think he would have stayed in NY and then he would have been forgotten and maybe even disliked, unless, of course, George sold him part of the team. I didn't like his Cleveland connections which would have led him to sign with the Indians, assuming he was able to play. He was also an abettor in diminishing Reggie, by siding with Billy. And he looked foolish playing the outfield and first base. Just before he died, I am not sure there was much more of a future for him. He couldn't throw and he couldn't hit for power.

I just cannot grasp the love for him. He had a couple of good years, but he wasn't more important to the two WS rings than several others, including Reggie.

I would also contend that Thurman was every bit of a shithead as Reggie.

8 RIYank   ~  Apr 19, 2010 11:55 am

[6] Yeah, maybe.

Wow, with runners in the corners and one out, Lackey got a really wide strike zone, and Ben Zobrist struck out looking. I don't think any of the three called strikes were over the plate. Crawford stole second on the last one. Now Longoria with two ducks...


Damn, this team is good. They are tough. I'm now more impressed that we took 2 out of 3 from them at the Trop.

9 Alex Belth   ~  Apr 19, 2010 12:02 pm

6-0 Tampa. Wowski.

10 RIYank   ~  Apr 19, 2010 12:10 pm

[9] Yeah, not a happy Patriot's Day for John Lackey. Things were already going bad (control problems, more defensive crappiness behind him) even before Upton cashed in a flat fastball for 3 RBI. Hard to see the current edition of the Sox come back from a 6 run deficit!

11 williamnyy23   ~  Apr 19, 2010 12:46 pm

[1] For what's it's worth, Reggie claims he never said the part about "Munson only being able to stir it bad". Absent that part, the quote is actually very benign. The straw is hardly the star of a drink...it is a complementary part of an already potent mix. In many ways, I've always thought of the quote as too modest for Reggie.

Of course, even if he did say it, Reggie repeatedly apologized for the perception and distraction. The bottom line is that Reggie was a big part in bringing the Yankees back, and for that he deserves the special place the Yankees have carved out for him.

Also, Arod DID have a “straw-like” quote in the infamous GQ article, and I’ve always maintained that was the genesis of Yankee fans’ reticence to accept him (until last year’s postseason force most of them to).

12 williamnyy23   ~  Apr 19, 2010 1:00 pm

[7] First off, Arod's article was in Esquire, not GQ as I mentioned in [11].

Secondly, I also agree that if Munson and the Yankees "old guard" of the time had simply accepted Reggie's apologiez and moved on, there wouldn't have been that much controversey. Of course, the team did win two championships, so maybe that is what fueled them. Either way, Reggie was not the villain. He was just part of disfunctional clubhouse during a very disfunctional time.

As for Munson being a villain, well, I think you've gone too far with that. Munson had more than just a "few good years" and was revered by many of his teammates. Just because he may have wanted to be closer to Cleveland (those connections were a family, to whom Munson was supposedly a very loving father) and didn’t embrace the limelight of playing in New York and being the captain of the Yankees doesn’t make him a bad guy. Having said that, yes, he could be a #@!&head, but I would contend that the 1977-78 Yankees led the league in that department.

13 williamnyy23   ~  Apr 19, 2010 1:04 pm

[8] The Rays are definitely good...maybe almost as good as the Yankees...which should really be worrying the Red Sox right about now. I am sure Boston will right itself, but it does look they are the third horse in this race.

14 thelarmis   ~  Apr 19, 2010 2:01 pm

thurman was my first idol. i'll never forget sitting in the living room, as a little boy, when the news came on. i can see the plane in the little box on the top left of the screen and see myself weeping. it was the first time i experienced loss and death. what a horrible feeling. i still get sad around thurman's death day and with all the anniversary stuff i see and read...

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