Thurman Lee Munson (June 7, 1947 - August 2, 1979) quickly made his presence known in the Yankees lineup and across Major League Baseball as he hit .302 in his rookie campaign while posting a .989 fielding percentage earning the 1970 American League Rookie of the Year award. Thurman became an instant leader on a Yankees team longing for direction and from a young age, Munson masterfully handled the pitching staffs that included Mel Stottlemyre, Catfish Hunter, Ron Guidry and Sparky Lyle, among others. He was no slouch at the plate either, batting above the .300-mark five times in his 11-year career. He played his entire career in Yankee pinstripes (1969-1979), had 110 hits in every full season he played, blasted ten or more home runs in six seasons and topped the 100-RBI mark three times. In 1976, Thurman Munson was named the American League Most Valuable Player with 186 hits, 28 doubles, 18 hoe runs, 105 RBI and a .302 batting average as well as posting a .981 fielding percentage behind the plate. He was the first team captain from 1976-1979 since Lou Gehrig, led the Yankees to the 1977 and 1978 World Series championships and earned seven MLB All-Star Game appearances. Thurman also took home the AL Gold Glove for a catcher from 1973 to 1975. Thurman Munson’s career was cut short in August of 1979, when his plane, he was piloting at the time, crashed as he was practicing maneuvers with his flight instructor onboard. Thurman Munson collected 1,558 career hits including 229 doubles and 113 home runs, scored 696 runs and drove in 701 RBI while batting a career .292 over 11 seasons. Munson’s number “15” was retired immediately upon his death and the Yankees have perpetually honored the captain with a plaque that remains in Monument Park in Yankees Stadium.