Mets and Yanks are celebrated at annual Munson Awards

February 14, 2023 Jim Dolan
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Chelsea Piers was the site of this year’s 43rd annual Thurman Munson Awards Gala for the benefit of the AHRC NYC Foundation. Over the years this annual charity fundraiser has raised more than $19 million to benefit children and young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The award winners were selected for their on-the-field excellence, community outreach and for the betterment of their sport.  

Brooklyn’s own John Cirillo of Cirillo World Media introduced the winners. First, like Thurman Munson a homegrown Yankee catcher, Kyle Higashioka was selected and reacted to the honor by saying, “I know that I have big shoes to fill and I’m going to give it my best.”

Next, LPGA golf champion Annika Sorenstam recounted that, oddly enough, some of the best competition that she faced over the years has been against retired baseball players like the Braves’ John Smoltz and Greg Maddux.

On the other side of town, N.Y. Mets manager Buck Showalter was honored for being named the 2022 National League Manager of the Year, while former Met Ron Swoboda stood in for current Met award winner outfielder Brandon Nimmo. 

Carrying on the work with the organization that her late husband championed during the 1970s with the Yankees, Diana Munson has been an honorary AHRC chairperson for over four decades. Addressing the room, Munson said she always wanted to be Thurman’s cheerleader since he didn’t always get along with the media. Now since his passing, she gets the opportunity each year to celebrate his accomplishments for a wonderful cause. “This is always a homecoming for me,” she said. “Thank you for borrowing Thurman so you can be so generous with AHRC.”

Former outfielder Roy White, who played with Munson for 11 years, said he “was a great teammate and a great friend.”

“We shared our locker space together in the clubhouse, and he always took me out to the best restaurants in the American League,” White said.

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