Thurman Munson Thurman Munson was a member of the New York Yankees for 11 years and has been called one of the greatest catchers of the 1970s. He joined the Yankees in 1968 and a year later he was their starting catcher. He started his career out right, winning the 1970 American League Rookie of the Year award when he batted a .302. His intense attitude, sharp thinking and leadership soon earned him the position of team captain. This was an honor because he was the first named captain since the great Lou Gehrig. He also earned three Gold Gloves due to his defensive playing abilities behind home plate. In 1976 he won the Most Valuable Player award for hitting .302 and 105 RBI's. During his span with the Yankees he led them to three American League pennants and two World Championships. His baseball career was cut tragically short when he died in an airplane accident while practicing landing. He is not forgotten today, and a replica of his locker containing everything from his spikes to his catchers' mitt is on display at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York.