Cubs Manager Lou Pinella was honored with the “Legend Award” at Tuesday night’s annual Munson Awards dinner. It has been 30 years since New York Yankees catcher Thurman Munson died in a plane crash and the annual gala has been going strong now for 30 consecutive years. Munson’s widow Diana Munson was in attendance as usual – “For 30 years, I’ve been syaing that I’m sure the dinner is going to phase out. The fact that it keeps going on and gets stronger is a true testament to the people of New York and the memory of Thurman. To know that New York never forgets is overwhelming for my family.”
Pinella was a teammate of Munson’s on 2 World Series Championship teams in 1977 and 1978. He had the highest of praise for Munson – referring to Munson as “a wonderful, wonderful young man, husband and family guy. A great player, leader and true friend.” Pinella had previously won a Munson Award that he still keeps in his office and he was honored with the Legend Award for his meritorious service to baseball for the long span of his career.
Others receiving awards were Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain for his philanthropic work in the Omaha, Nebraska area; former New York Mets and Yankees great Darryl Strawberry for his Darryl Strawberry Foundation endeavor; and New York Knicks guard Chris Duhon for his work with helping the people of Lousiana in their continuing recovery from Hurricane Katrina.
The Munson gala has raised over $10 million over the years to benefit children and adults who suffer with intellectual and developmental disabilities.