5 Minutes with Mike Munchak

July 11, 2012 – On June 27, I had the privilege of spending a few hours with Mike Munchak, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001.

Munchak, who played offensive guard for the Houston Oilers for 12 seasons beginning in 1982, grew up in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Munchak is in his second season as the Tennessee Titans head coach, and he was joined by the team’s assistant special team’s coach Chet Parlavecchio and several of his friends at Yankee Stadium.

When we arrived in the New York Yankees Museum, curator Brian Richards handed Munchak the bat that Babe Ruth used to hit the first home run at the old Yankee Stadium. In the funniest moment of the day, Munchak walked to the area in front of a statue of Yogi Berra in a catching stance to pose for a few photos. Before Munchak could get into his batting stance, Parlavecchio was standing behind him, calling balls and strikes (see photo below).

I also took Munchak and his group to Monument Park before the coach met up with Joe Girardi on the field.

While we were in Monument Park, I asked Munchak if he believes there were more fans of the New York Yankees or of the Philadelphia Phillies in Scranton — which is located two hours from each city — during his childhood in the 1970s.

“The Yankees fan base was much stronger,” Munchak said. “That was the case because the people in the area did a great job of offering bus trips to Yankee Stadium, and that’s how I got to a lot of games. My dad and other families in the neighborhood went to Yankee Stadium a few times a year on bus trips. In the mid-’70s, our cable company began to carry some Yankees games on TV in Scranton, and that’s when I really became a hard-core fan.”

As a graduate of Misericordia University in Dallas, Pennsylvania, which is located in the shadows of Scranton, I was especially proud to interview Munchak for a “5 Minutes With” interview that will be published in the August Issue of Yankees Magazine.

–Alfred Santasiere III

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