Gleyber, J.D. Davis among Munson honorees

February 5th, 2020

NEW YORK -- Yankees legend Thurman Munson died 40 years ago, but his legacy remains stronger than ever. And that was proven Tuesday night at Chelsea Piers.

Yankees shortstop and Mets third baseman/outfielder J.D. Davis were honored at the 40th annual Thurman Munson Awards dinner. Former Yankees outfielder Lou Piniella, one of Munson’s best friends, former Mets captain John Franco and basketball legend Nancy Lieberman were also honored at the event.

The Thurman Munson Award is given to professional and Olympic athletes in recognition of their athletic achievements and contributions to the community. The event raised money to benefit the AHRC New York City Foundation and to help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“Thurman Munson’s name is on the award. It’s truly a tremendous honor,” Davis said. “I was a '90s baby. Unfortunately, I never saw him play, but when I got the call that I was being honored, I knew who he was … [and] how big of an icon he was in New York. I was pretty humbled by it.”

Torres knew of Munson's legacy since the Cubs traded the shortstop to New York in 2016. Torres was told how great Munson was on and off the field.

“It was amazing when I heard the news [that I won the award],” Torres said. “I feel really great. … When he played with the Yankees, he was great, and I will try to do the same thing.”

Diana Munson, the widow of the former Yankees catcher, is amazed that the event is going strong after all these years. She remembered when the dinner was created in 1980, a year after her husband was killed in a plane crash. The event was supposed to last no more than a few years.

“I’m most proud of the money we raised for all of the different areas for AHRC, specifically the school, because they have blown me away with what they have taught the youngsters, the adults. They just thrive," Munson said. "To be a part of it has meant a lot to my family."

As she reflected on her husband, Munson’s thoughts and prayers were with the families who lost loved ones in the recent helicopter crash that killed NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna.

“Since then, so many raw emotions have bubbled up inside of me,” Munson told the audience. “It reminds me, as we journey through life, it’s so important that we celebrate each other in the good times and support each other in bad times. …

"To each of you here tonight to support AHRC, please remember that you don’t have to be a sports hero or an industry leader to make a difference in this world. I want to implore you to live each day with passion. Don’t be too busy to stop and help others. Don’t ever forget to tell loved ones how much you love them, and don’t take a single moment for granted.”

Before the event started, Torres talked about the position switch he will make this Spring Training. After two years playing mostly second base, Torres will be the Yankees' everyday shortstop, his natural position, now that Didi Gregorius signed a free-agent deal with the Phillies.

“We know that Didi did a real good job. Now, I will get the opportunity to play my position … and prepare really well to get better and help my team,” Torres said. "[I want to] stay healthy. I’m prepared to be back at my position. I heard too many things like I’ll be better defensively. So I’m just working really hard."