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Thurman Munson – 1974 Topps #340

Thurman Lee Munson (June 7, 1947 – August 2, 1979) was an American Major League Baseball catcher. He played his entire 11-year career for the New York Yankees (1969–1979). A perennial All-Star, Munson is the only Yankee ever to win both the Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player awards. Born in Akron, Ohio, Munson was selected as the fourth pick of the 1968 Major League Baseball Draft. Munson hit over .300 in his two seasons in the Minor Leagues, establishing himself as a hot prospect. He became the starting catcher late in the 1969 season, when the Yankees were reestablishing themselves after a few losing seasons. Munson played his first complete season in 1970, becoming Rookie of the Year after hitting .302. Considered the “heart and soul” of the Yankees, Munson became the first team captain since Lou Gehrig. He led the Yankees to three consecutive World Series, winning two of them. Munson died at age 32 while practicing how to land his Cessna Citation at Akron-Canton Airport. Munson was pinned by debris and killed by smoke inhalation in the ensuing fire while his two companions escaped the burned aircraft.

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