Jorge Posada, David Robertson, T.J. Rivera and Justin Tuck were recipients of the Thurman Munson Awards, while Carlos Beltran received the Thurman Legend Award on Tuesday night
at the Grand Hyatt Hotel.
The gala benefits AHRC New York City Foundation which assists children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“It means a lot,” said Posada, a five-time All-Star catcher with the Yankees. Posada has helped with Hurricane Relief efforts in Puerto Rico, and has the Jorge Posada Foundation assisting those with Craniosynosis, which impacted his son. “With the teammates that Thurman had that I was able to hang around, the Guidrys, and the Reggie Jacksons, Thurman was team-first all the way. Winning was so important. They said that I reminded them a lot about him.
Even Diana Munson one day on Old-Timers’ Day said, ‘I started watching baseball again because of you.’ And that meant so much to me. So that means to me, I’m humble and I’m happy that I’m here.”
This was the 38th annual benefit, having started after Munson was killed in an airplane crash on August 2, 1979.
At the time of the first benefit, some felt that the event might just last for a few years. “They told me that this was all built on sentiment and, although I loved Thurman, they said not everyone is going to feel that way in 10 years,” Diana Munson said. “Well, 38 years later they still love him. And I do, too.”
Yankees reliever David Robertson was honored because of his High Socks for Hope Foundation. “Thurman was an amazing baseball player, did so much for the community and left such a lasting impact on so many people, that to receive an award in his honor is an amazing honor,” Robertson said.
Robertson’s foundation has helped furnish homes and provide supplies in areas impacted by natural disasters.
“We’re given so much as athletes,” Robertson said. “I get to play a game for a living and I’m paid very well for it, and I understand that. After 2011, when my hometown got hit by a tornado and you see things just in shambles, and you realize if I’m given all this, why can’t I return the favor to some other people?”
Mets infielder T.J. Rivera was the team nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award for his community efforts. “It’s a blessing for me and my family to be here with some great people that do some great things for our community, so I’m really excited about this, plus Thurman Munson was actually my mother’s favorite player, so it’s an honor,” Rivera said.
Former Met and Yankee Carlos Beltran has helped with the Hurricane Relief effort in Puerto Rico. And he was on the 2017 Astros championship team that helped Houston heal after Hurricane Harvey.
Justin Tuck won two Super Bowl titles with the Giants and has the Tuck R.U.S.H. for Literacy foundation.
Over the years, the event has raised over $15 million. “Not bad for a little, fat catcher from Ohio,” Diana Munson said.