Complete list of every Yankees captain before Aaron Judge
Thurman Munson: 1976-1979
Ironically (but, again, in the worst way), the Yankees didn't name a captain between Gehrig's reign and Munson's arrival as the de facto leader of the 1970s teams. George Steinbrenner brought the tradition back in 1976, a season where the Yankees made it back to the World Series for the first time since 1964, but fell to the Cincinnati Reds in four games.
That means no Mantle. No Maris. No DiMaggio. No Berra. No Henrich, Keller or Page. No Reynolds, Lopat or Raschi. Until Munson arrived and stirred the drink to two consecutive titles in 1977 and 1978.
Of course, Munson's tenure was also cut far too short when his self-piloted plane crashed in Akron before it reached the runway. The Captain remained alive on impact, but was paralyzed from the neck down and immobilized. His final words were, "Help me, Dave" to an associate who could not manage to lift him from the wreckage before escaping himself.
We prefer to remember him another way, though, holding steady as an endless stream of Red Sox and Royals tried to test his mettle running full-steam towards home plate. But you can't run through a wall, and you can't scare a captain.