Ron Guidry remembers Thurman Munson

Friday is the 40th anniversary of the passing of Yankees captain and catcher Thurman Munson in a plane crash near his home in Canton, Ohio.
Yankees pitcher Ron Guidry spoke to Major League Baseball Network, and his recollections are airing all day long.
Here are excerpts of what Guidry said:
Guidry on the Yankees’ game on August 3:

“People said they had goosebumps, but not for the right reasons, it was just eerie. That’s what was hard, standing up with everybody alongside of you, feeling the same way as something was taken away from us and we’d never be able to replace it.”

On George Steinbrenner’s decision for the entire team to travel to Munson’s funeral:

“I had to tip my hat to [George Steinbrenner] because he knew there was something more important than that game, even though he wanted to win as much as anybody. This was not as important as what we were doing.”

On pitching a game the same day as Munson’s funeral:

“I know you like talking about it, but I want to tell you that I don’t like remembering that feeling that I felt at that precise moment. When I turned around knowing he would never be there again, I didn’t care about that game at all.”

FULL GUIDRY TRANSCRIPTION

August 1, 1979:

“Thurman had said that he was gonna be flying his plane. He was gonna fly from Chicago to Canton to be with his family because we had an off day the next day at home. Sure, there was a lot of us that kind of got a little concerned, but he never thought there was anything out of the ordinary. The team wins the game, and then he takes a shower and he leaves. ‘We’ll see you back in New York.’ We didn’t realize that’d be the last time we see him.”

August 2, 1979:

“About one o’clock, I guess, I got a phone call, somewhere around there, give or take. Mr. Steinbrenner informed me of what had happened. … For the next hour or so, I guess, I can’t even recall what happened. Your mind was just not functioning and you’re trying to visualize what the hell exactly is going on here. Mr. Steinbrenner said, ‘We’re gonna all meet at the ballpark, so just make your way there as quick as you can.’ It was a somber mood in that clubhouse, that I remember. I can’t recall if even anybody was really talking about anything. I think the only one that was actually talking was Mr. Steinbrenner, telling us, ‘This is what’s gonna happen for the next couple of days.’”

August 3, 1979:

“That afternoon when I got to the park, and I’m there fairly early, and I remember walking into the lounge, getting a cup of coffee and then when I walked back across the locker room, you have to pass his locker to get into the training room. You start looking at, he’s not going to be here. You keep looking there, but he ain’t coming. So you go through the motions. We go out. Time stopped, there was nothing. It made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. People said they had goosebumps, but not for the right reasons, it was just eerie. That’s what was hard, standing up with everybody alongside of you, feeling the same way as something was taken away from us and we’d never be able to replace it.”

August 4, 1979:

“I had to tip my hat to [George Steinbrenner] because he knew there was something more important than that game, even though he wanted to win as much as anybody. This was not as important as what we were doing.”

August 6, 1979:

“The priest comes up, he starts speaking and you’re listening and you’re thinking, you’re flashing back what you remember when he did this to you, you remember when he called this pitch. You start thinking about all kinds of stuff. Then it gets to the point where [Bobby] Murcer gets up and he speaks. I don’t think they had a dry eye in that place. I know I had tears for the longest time.”
“I’m sitting in the locker room going, ‘Okay, well I’m pitching so I’m not going out. I’ll be in here all by myself for three hours. You’re hashing everything back and you’re not looking forward to going out. I was not looking forward to going out.”
“You bend over, you pick up the ball, you take your hat, you stand up, they play the anthem, put your hat back on and you turn around. … I know you like talking about it, but I want to tell you that I don’t like remembering that feeling that I felt at that precise moment. When I turned around knowing he would never be there again, I didn’t care about that game at all.”
“You weren’t seeing us, you weren’t seeing the real team. It was just hard to go through knowing what you are gonna be going through. But then [Bobby] Murcer hits a home run, all of a sudden it’s 4-3 and you’re sitting down in the dugout and you go, ‘You know, if he was here sitting next to you, he’d be on your rear end bad because the way you’ve been pitching, that’s not who you are and he certainly wouldn’t want to be catching that weak-ass shit that you’re throwing.’ I wasn’t gonna give up anything more, I would have lost that game 4-3, it wouldn’t have been 5-3. That was so fitting about the whole day, it’s like that’s the way that it should have ended. All you can see is the third base coach [waving], the first base coach [waving], everybody’s running. I remember running out to the field, everybody’s just euphoric because it couldn’t have been scripted any better.”
“If you think about tradition and pride and all of the stuff that the Yankees are built around, that’s a Thurman Munson. A guy who loved the organization, loved playing the game and loved being a Yankee. He was proud of that and he made sure everyone else knew how much it meant.”

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