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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Munson, 32, killed in plane crash
By Larry Schwartz
Special to

Aug. 2, 1979

Thurman Munson, the New York Yankees' first captain since Lou Gehrig, is killed when the plane he is piloting crashes short of the runway on an attempted landing at the Akron-Canton Airport in Ohio.

The Cessna Citation twin-engine jet loses its wings and bursts into flames after the crash. The two passengers try to remove Munson from the plane, but they can't because of the fire. The two are taken to the hospital with burns. Munson had a passion for flying and frequently flew home on off-days to be with his family in Canton. The 32-year-old catcher gets in at about 3 a.m. this morning from Chicago. He thinks the plane isn't acting right and this afternoon he takes it up to find out what was wrong.

Munson was the American League's Rookie of the Year in 1970 and the MVP in 1976; the first Yankee to win both awards. According to a club spokesman, Yankees manager Billy Martin "cried like a baby" when told of Munson's death.

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