When I got to spring training this year I had heard the little whispers about Gary Sanchez. About how he wasn’t the same player last season as he was the previous season. I didn’t believe it for a second because if you know this kid, then you know his work ethic. For one thing he worked very hard this off season to be very ready for a new season.
Since the day Gary got to the big leagues I have been talking to him about Thurman Munson. I have told him how hard he worked and every once in a while I would give him a message from Thurman’s wife Diana. During the Yanks fantasy camp I told Diana that I was gonna relate some of the positive things to Gary that I learned from Thurman and some things that me and Diana shared.
After one of the Yanks’ practice sessions, I got together with Gary and organization catching coach Lino Díaz and we just talked about Munson. We talked about how positive of a person he was. We talked about how actions spoke louder than words with Thurman. We talked about how after forty years, the magnitude of the man could be so strong. We talked about all Thurman wanted to do was put the team on his shoulders and carry them to the finish line.
I remember after speaking to Gary last week and telling him how proud I was of him. I gave him a kiss and told him that was from Thurman. When I walked away tears actually filled my eyes because the last thing that Gary said to me was I truly do understand the magnitude of what this man meant to this organization and this city.
Today Gary Sanchez will be the starting catcher for the American League All Stars in Cleveland, Ohio, the state where Thurman Munson was born and raised. I can guarantee you that the Munson family will be watching in nearby Canton Ohio rooting on Gary Sanchez.
Life unfortunately goes on with or without us, however if you knew Thurman Munson than you would understand why his spirit is always here. If you knew Gary Sanchez than you would understand why I’m rooting for this kid to carry on the Yankees great catching legacy.