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70 Years Since “The Shot Heard Round The World”

October 3, 2021

It was nearing a late Thursday night hour, I believe in 1999, and I was fortunate enough to be sitting with the man and a good one (Bobby Thomson), as was the man (Ralph Branca), who threw the fateful pitch, that hit a 3 run pennant winning home run, that lifted the New York Giants to the National League Pennant 70 years ago, on October 3, 1951.

His name was/is Bobby Thomson and he hit the famed home run, off pitcher Ralph Branca, the same pitcher he had HR’d vs in the first game of an unscheduled playoff for the ’51 “flag,” eventually won by the Giants, 2 games to 1 over a great, but eventually under achieving Brooklyn Dodgers team/era. (Alas in a far better National League, one ahead of its American League counterpart in signing Black and Hispanic players, who in so many cases achieved excellence or better on the playing field, a bigger and broader issue regarding “playing field fairness” caused/causes a debate that rages and will rage on, the Dodgers won pennants 6 times, after signing baseball’s first Black player (the one and only Jackie Robinson) after years of a disgraceful ban by baseball of such PEOPLE) in Mr. (not Mrs, that “Mrs.” a beautiful, inside and out, lady named Rachel, is still alive at age 99. I saw her standing at the back of the cathedral at a memorial service for the great journalist, Dick Schaap, nearly 20 years ago. Now Phil Schaap, a famed “man of music” has also died, as in the situation with Dick, far too young and not yet 70–still and I will try to focus back–our # for today) Robinson’s 10 seasons. In two other seasons, 1950 and aforementioned ’51, the Dodgers suffered bitter last game defeats with 3 run homers, Thomson’s legendary blast 70 years ago today and Dick Sisler’s such the year before, being the key if not decisive blows. Most telling, in their so called under achieving, the talent laden, mostly right hand hitting “Brooks” (only Duke Snider, among their plethora of stars, batted from the left side, a distinct disadvantage, when playing at Yankee Stadium) won only one World Series in 6 tries, against the vaunted New York Yankees during that 10 year period from (1947-1956).

So what is my point and back to Thomson that night. Both he and I are (yes are, as I believe or at least fervently hope, that from a better place, Bobby is aware and against the theatrics, artificially induced and for a much lower prize (i.e. his team’s win made them one of two teams into post-season, juxtaposed with the 2 teams to enter either Tuesday’s or Wednesday’s “10 to 8” A.L. game, to be just that, one of eight post-season teams) are so opposed to the wild card presence.

I told him to get the next day’s paper and my quote of Russ Hodges’ immortal call of Thomson’s home run, would nowadays include an addendum that Brooklyn was the wild card team. Bobby liked that.

On we (must) go.

A specific post on the 1951 National League Pennant Race and its epic conclusion broadcast in epic fashion by Russ Hodges, can be read by clicking something called a link, below.

Remembering Russ Hodges’ Great Call on Bobby Thomson’s Pennant Winning Home Run on October 3, 1951

 

Left to right, Andy B. pictured with Bobby Thomson

 

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