Auction Item Details

Back Lot Number: 231  

Lot 231
Description: Significant 1976 Thurman Munson American League Most Valuable Player award. For good reason, statistics are the benchmark by which all players are measured in baseball. Runs batted in, home runs, base hits, batting average, fielding percentage, and in rare cases, wins or strikeouts, all dictate the recipients of the most prestigious awards the game has to offer. The statistics behind Thurman Munson's 1976 American League season with the New York Yankees were certainly impressive: 105 RBI's, 17 home runs, 186 base hits, 79 runs scored, and a .302 batting average. Nonetheless, if asked, the individuals who voted for Munson as the 1976 AL Most Valuable Player would likely state that their selection was driven by leadership and overall quality of play rather than pure numerical statistics. Munson himself summarized it best in stating, "I like hitting fourth, and I like the good batting average, but what I do every day behind the plate is a lot more important because it touches so many more people, and so many more aspects of the game." Although simple in nature, Munson's philosophy truly captures what the Most Valuable Player award is all about. It should not be misunderstood; statistics within the game of baseball are necessary. They serve as the very thread that links all players together from the inception of the professional game in the mid-1800s through the modern era. They are the measuring stick by which records are kept and broken. Thurman Munson certainly cared about statistics. He took great pride in the three consecutive seasons with 100 RBI's, and it cannot be doubted that the 1971 season, in which he committed just a single error behind the plate, gave him a fine sense of accomplishment. But even more important than his statistical record, Thurman Munson simply willed his team to victory. As recounted by many of his teammates, Munson, from his first day with the Yankees, felt and acted like he belonged. Rarely do players blessed with the natural talent of Thurman Munson also possess the leadership qualities that he so outwardly displayed. Munson led his team to the 1976 American League pennant for the first time since 1964, when an aging Mickey Mantle was commanding the helm. Although the Yankees lost in 1976 to the Cincinnati Reds, a new pattern had been established. The aura of the Yankees had returned, and it was due in large part to the character displayed by Munson both on and off the field. It is for those reasons that he was chosen to be the league's Most Valuable Player. The offered black painted wooden plaque measures 16" in diameter and retains its original surface. Applied to the front is an octagonal sterling silver placard with a Kennesaw M.Landis bust vignette, Thurman Munson nameplate, and 1947 year plate, all three of which are fashioned of 10K gold. Front is stamped "Dieges & Clust, Sterling". Diminutive hallmarks are stamped just under the enameled BBWAA logo at lower center area. Back of the plaque retains its original Dieges & Clust label and brass hoop for wall hanging. The wooden portion of the plaque remains nearly pristine and well preserved in its original, as issued state. Interior plaque portion remains equally clean with brilliant eye appeal. The Most Valuable Player award is the most coveted of individual performance awards in Major League Baseball. The offered exemplar awarded to Thurman Munson is without question among the most desirable player examples to have been offered for public sale. It also represents the finest modern era Most Valuable Player award to have ever been offered at public auction. Notable rarity with timeless appeal and enduring significance as a symbol of the pinnacle player achievement within the game of baseball. Includes letter of provenance from Diana Munson: NM
Sold For: $110,000.00

Estimated Price: ($100,000.00-$150,000.00)