Remembering Red Munger

Red Munger
1996

 

Today marks the 21st anniversary of an important Houston baseball figure’s death.

Twenty-one years ago, on July 23, 1996, native Houstonian George “Red” Munger passed away at home from diabetes at the age of 77.

God Bless the Soul at Rest Today That Still is Remembered and Loved as George “Red” Munger. He was a former Houston Buff

Red had a 10-year MLB history (1943-44, 1945-52, 1956) with the St. Louis Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Pirates, posting a career record as a right-handed pitcher of 77 wins, 56 losses, and an ERA of 3.86. His best season records were all achieved as a Cardinal in 1943, when we went 11-3 with a 1.34 ERA; in 1947, when he went 16-5 with a 3.37 ERA; and 1949, when he went 16-8 with a 3.87 ERA. Red also won 152 minor league games, a long road that included time with the Houston Buffs in 1937-38 and a 23-win season for the PCL Hollywood Stars in 1955 at the age of 36.

His biggest moment, however, came in 1946, when Red Munger and lefty Harry Brecheen provided the St. Louis Cardinals with the kind of pitching needed to topple the heavy-hitting Boston Red Sox in a seven-game World Series. – Yes, that’s right. The same kind of pitching we know the Astros may have to overcome in 2017 to keep the same fate from felling our hopes for the 2017 Astros in a short series playoff or World Series situation this fall.

The memory of Red Munger came back strong today through an exchange of comments with Red’s son, David Munger, on another column link about Astros hitting.

Here is the brief column exchange that leads to a comment there that deserves to be a column of honor to the memory of Red Munger here.

Thanks again for the memories, Red Munger! And thanks for the memory jog, David Munger!

Your dad will be special to baseball history forever.

The Comment Sequence

David Munger Says:

The 1946 Red Sox lost in 7 games, Harry Brecheen won 3 games for the Cards and some Houstonian who had been recently discharged from the Army won the other. His name slips me.

David Munger Says:

Bill, I thought you would get a kick out of that. Today is the 21st Anniversary of his death, damn time flies.

Bill McCurdy Says:

That picture I took of your dad, Red Munger, in his Cardinal cap, was taken about a month earlier than his 7/23/96 date of death. His foot was giving him fits on the follow-up day I came back to bring him a copy of the picture, but he was feeling chipper and still loved talking baseball. That last visit was exactly three weeks prior to his death.

When your dad started talking about Eddie Stanky taking over as manager of the Cardinals, it was pretty obvious that Red didn’t waste any Christmas cards on the man, but I had to ask, anyway:

“Red, what did you really think about old Stanky?”

Your dad’s face spread into a wide smile as he relaxed in his easy chair, with hands intertwined before him, staring beyond the room at a memory from a distant past day.

“Old Stanky,” Red finally said. “What a turd he was!” A period of recollection along those lines then followed.

On my previous visit, Red said he wanted me to have his Cardinal cap as a souvenir. I told him I couldn’t take it. Red’s generosity already had cost him a lot to professionals who had mined his generosity and acquired whatever he once kept as original uniforms from his playing career.

There’s got to be a special place in hell for those people who take advantage of older people and, now that I’m actually in Red’s old age neighborhood, I feel even more strongly about it.

Anyway, I accepted the cap because Red wanted me to have it and I knew it was only a reproduced version of the ’46 Cardinals cap.

He still wouldn’t sign it for me. Said “I’m not going to mess up a perfectly good wearable cap by writing on it,” so, we settled for me taking that picture of him.

In fact, I had brought Red a copy of that picture and one to sign for me on what turned out to be our last visit in the short time I had the good fortune of knowing him. Being as I am, and as things turned out, it’s also why I eventually wanted you have the cap your dad gave away and that special red-frame version copy of the last Red Munger photo.

God bless Red Munger on this special day! And may God Bless You, David, and all the other Mungers who had the good fortune of having this good man as your father from childhood through your latter years.

Godspeed,

Bill McCurdy

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

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4 Responses to “Remembering Red Munger”

  1. Patrick Callahan '56 Says:

    bILL
    GREAT PIECE – you’re aging well like fine wine
    regards,
    Callahan STHS ’56

  2. David Munger Says:

    Thanks Bill, I appreciate your kindness towards my Dad. He really enjoyed your company.

  3. Tom White Says:

    Bill,

    What a great article.

    I attended Red Munger’s funeral. It was an open casket service. There was a Cardinal’s cap just like the one in your picture with him in the casket. I remember we sang “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”

    Tom White

  4. Shirley Virdon Says:

    Bill, We were privileged to have met the Mungers when Bill & Red were playing in Cuba in the winter baseball league in 1954. We had a wonderful winter there before we all went to St. Louis for Bill’s first year in the Major Leagues. We continued our friendship when both ended up in Pittsburgh playing for the Pirates! They were always very special friends from our early years of Bill’s baseball career.

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