Tuesday, August 17, 2010


A sad goodbye to the man who hit the "shot heard 'round the world." This is from the NY Daily News, just now...

"The man who hit the most famous home run in baseball history is gone. Bobby Thomson, whose "shot heard 'round the world" capped a best-of-three playoff and the Giants' miracle comeback to win the 1951 National League pennant over the Dodgers, died Monday night at his home in Savannah, Georgia. He had been in declining health for years, but died peacefully, according to his daughter Megan Thomson Armstrong. He was 86.
Of baseball's historic walk-off home runs - Bill Mazeroski's in Game 7 of the 1960 World Series, Joe Carter's in Game 6 of the 1993 World Series, Carlton Fisk's in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series - Thomson's shot off of Ralph Branca into the left-field seats of the Polo Grounds on Oct. 3, 1951, will always be regarded as the granddaddy of them all. The dramatic blast capped the Giants' incredible charge to the pennant after they had trailed the Dodgers by 13 1/2 games as late as Aug. 11. Beginning on Aug. 12, the Giants won 16 straight games and went 37-7 down the stretch to force a tie with the Dodgers at season's end. In the playoff series that ensued, the Giants won the first game, 3-1, on a two-run fourth-inning homer by Thomson off Branca and the Dodgers came back to win the second game, 10-0, behind the six-hit pitching of Clem Labine.
That set the stage for the deciding game, which the Dodgers led, 4-1, going into the ninth inning. But Dodger starter Don Newcombe, who had logged 272 innings that season, tired in the ninth, surrendering a leadoff infield single to Alvin Dark, another single to Don Mueller, and then, after Monte Irvin fouled out, a two-run opposite field double to left field by Whitey Lockman. On the play, Mueller severely sprained his ankle sliding into third and as he was attended to and finally removed from the game for pinch-runner Clint Hartung, Dodger manager Charlie Dressen summoned Branca from the bullpen to replace Newcombe with Thomson coming to the plate. Branca's first pitch was a called-strike fastball. His second pitch, another fastball, Thomson hit on a low rising liner toward left. As Dodger leftfielder Andy Pafko drifted back to the wall, the ball sailed over his head into the seats for a 5-4 victory, and from the broadcast booth Giants announcer Russ Hodges could be heard screaming, "The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!"

Bobby, you will be missed. Rest in peace. Forever. The baseball world is in mourning.


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