Born in Akron, raised in Canton, Thurman Munson was a natural athlete destined for stardom. He chose the sport of baseball to excel and excel he did. He parlayed an outstanding collegiate career at Kent State University, where he earned All-American honors, into a professional baseball contract. Upon breaking into the New York Yankees organization as a catcher in 1970, Munson promptly earned Rookie of the Year distinction. Before a tragic plane crash in August, 1979 ended his 10-year pro career, Munson had earned numerous other honors. He was named on the American League All-Star squad in 1971, '73, '74, '75, '76 and '77. The Yankee captain was the American League's Most Valuable Player and the Sporting News' Player of the Year in 1976. He played in the 1977 and '78 World Series, set four records and tied six others.