Next up in my “awards sub-set” thread is a 1971 card celebrating the previous season’s Rookies of the Year, in this case pitcher Carl Morton of the Montreal Expos and catcher Thurman Munson of the New York Yankees:
In the National League, after a brief cup-of-coffee in 1969 on the
inaugural Expos team, Morton came back in 1970 and put together an
excellent rookie year, posting a record of 18-11 with a 3.60 earned run
average and four shutouts over 43 appearances, 37 of which were starts,
with a whopping 284.2 innings pitched.
He would go on to put in eight years
in the big leagues, never really matching the numbers he put up that
first year, but a solid starter nevertheless, finishing up with a career
87-92 record with a 3.73 E.R.A., 13 shutouts and 650 strikeouts over
1648.2 innings of work.
Over in the American League, a young stud out of Kent Sate in Ohio named
Thurman Munson was almost a unanimous R.O.Y. winner, being named on all
but one ballot, the one other vote going to Cleveland Indians rookie
The 23-year-old batted .302 with a very nice .386 on-base-percentage
while catching 125 games for the surprising Yankee team that finished in
second place with a 93-69 record, this after the “dark days” of ball in
the Bronx between 1965-1969.
Of course, we all know that Thurman would go on to become a beloved
figure in NYC sports, helping the team come back to top-form with two
World Championships in 1977 & 1978, as well as being named Most
Valuable Player in the American League in 1976 when he anchored the team
to it’s first World Series appearance in 12 years.
Sadly, the Munson story does NOT have a happy ending, as we were all
shocked numb on that August 2nd, 1979 day when he was killed while
flying his private plane on an off-day in Ohio, absolutely crushing
yours truly, having his favorite player gone in an instant.
Nevertheless, Munson left the game with an excellent .292 career batting
average, driving in 100+ runs three straight years while topping .300
each time, and being named to seven all-star teams in his brief 11-year