Ralph Branca, the Brooklyn Dodgers hurler who gave up the 1951 home run known as the “Shot Heard Round The World” died at the age of 90 on Wednesday, November 23, 2016 in Rye Brook, NY.
After giving up the home run, Branca was unjustly made a poster boy for failure. A three time All-Star, Branca was a very good pitcher and had won 75 games by the age of 25. An injury in 1953 cut short his promising career.
The Giants Win The Pennant! 1952 Chesterfield cigarettes limited edition LP record
The home run that Bobby Thomson of the Giants hit off Branca to win the third and deciding playoff game, was very likely a pitch that Thomson knew was coming.
The Giants had been stealing signs from opposing teams catchers and relaying them to their hitters with a telescope and a buzzer system at home games at the Polo Grounds during the season. It was confirmed years later that the Giants had tipped batters during the playoff game as well. Thomson though never admitted to having been tipped to what the pitch would be that won the game.
A Play So Close You Need Two Umpires To Make The Call
Reese Safe at Second on Long Double
New York: Pee Wee Reese of the Brooklyn Dodgers slides safely into second in third inning of game with the St. Louis Cardinals at Ebbets Field July 23. Al Schoendienst dives in vain for the putout, but is too late. The two umpires calling the play are Art Gore (left) and Scotty Robb. Cardinals won 5-4. Credit: Acme 7/23/49
The fact that there are two umpires about to call this play is not so unusual. What makes it strange is that Continue reading →
The Unbuilt Brooklyn Dodgers Domed Baseball Stadium – 1956
Model of the proposed domed all-weather sports stadium planned to house the Brooklyn Dodgers is unveiled at the Dodger offices. photo Bob Laird February 6 1956
There are many “might have been’s” in baseball. One of the greatest has always been what if the Dodgers never left Brooklyn?
This photograph of what looks more like a kiddy pool with a baseball diamond in it, is a low-tech model of the proposed all-weather baseball stadium the Brooklyn Dodgers wanted to build. The Dodgers proposal was made ten years before the Houston Astrodome, the world’s first domed sports stadium made its debut in 1965.
For years before they moved to Los Angeles in 1958, Walter O’Malley, the Dodgers owner, had complained about the functionality of Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. The ballpark had character, but O’Malley considered it old and too small with only 32,111 seats and parking for 700 cars.
In 1955, O’Malley enlisted architect R. Buckminster Fuller to design a domed stadium to possibly replace Ebbets Field. The stadium would be in the form of a large bowl and seat approximately 55,000 people. Over the stadium, supported on a light-weight aluminum truss structure, would be a thin plastic dome 750 feet in diameter. The dome would be 300 feet high at its center and it would weigh only 500 tons. Up to that time the largest dome ever built was the 365 foot diameter Dome of Discovery at the Festival of Britain in 1951. Continue reading →
Mickey Mantle at bat as Yogi Berra waits on deck World Series Game 7 October 10, 1956 – photo: Ed Stein
The Yankee Hit Parade
Ebbets Field, N.Y. – This unusual photo of Mickey Mantle at bat and Yogi Berra (8), Yankee catcher on deck waiting for his turn with the lumber, typifies both hopes and fears of this series. Taken in the eighth inning of today’s final game, it shows Dodger catcher Roy Campanella ready to receive and plate umpire Dusty Boggess ready to call. In the background is the crowd as poised as Mickey himself. Mickey hit three homers in the series, though he only got out one hit out of four at bats in today’s game. Berra was one of today’s heroes for the bombers. He hit a pair of two-run homers and got a grand-slam homer in a previous game in the series. Yanks shut out the Dodgers 9-0, for the game and the series. 10-10-56 photo by Ed Stein
The year 1955 witnessed the end of the Brooklyn rallying cry of “wait until next year” when they finally defeated the New York Yankees in an exciting seven game World Series, highlighted by Johnny Podres’ stellar pitching for the Dodgers.
The Dodgers hoped to repeat as champions and even forced a seventh game at their home ballpark at Ebbets Field.
But it was not to be.
After having a perfect game pitched against them by Don Larsen at Yankee Stadium in game five, the Dodgers went back to Ebbets Field down three games to two to the Yankees. Continue reading →
A Virtually Empty Ebbets Field As The Brooklyn Dodgers Draw Just 2,612 Fans During The Heat Of The Pennant Race – September 15, 1952
The Brooklyn Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley constantly complained that Ebbets Field was not suitable for the Dodgers. Five years after this picture was taken, the Dodgers, enticed by a sweetheart deal, packed up and broke Brooklyn’s heart by moving to Los Angeles. The name O’Malley was forever muttered by Brooklynites with contempt from that day on.
If the Dodgers had attendance like this all the time, you couldn’t blame O’Malley for the move, but this sparse crowd was an anomaly. Here is the original caption to the photo:
PLENTY OF EXCITEMENT BUT FEW CUSTOMERS
There was plenty of excitement at this moment during first inning of the Dodgers- Cincinnati Reds game at Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, NY, Sept. 15, (1952) but not many fans to voice their support or disapproval. A crowd of only 2,612, the smallest Ebbets Field attendance since 1934 saw the display of fireworks in final game this season between the two clubs. The Dodgers outslugged the Reds 11-5, to protect their three-game lead over the pursuing New York Giants. – Associated Press Photo
The Dodgers ended up winning the pennant by 4 1/2 games over the Giants, having a much easier time than the year before.
In 1951 on August 11, the Dodgers had a 13 game lead over the Giants. That lead evaporated and at the end of the regular season the two teams ended up tied for the pennant. This necessitated a best of three play-off series which the Giants dramatically won with Bobby Thomson’s ninth inning home run on October 3.
May 11, 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers 11 Game Winning Streak Comes To An End
Jackie Robinson forced out at second base as Ernie Banks leaps over him May 11, 1955 photo: UPI
The New York Mets recent 10 game winning streak in 2015 may be a sign from the baseball gods that good things are in store for them. For inspiration the Mets can look back 60 years to the winning streak the Brooklyn Dodgers assembled on their way to their only World Series Championship.
The caption for this news photo says:
Chicago: Jackie Robinson, Brooklyn, forced at second in 7th inning of Dodgers – Cubs game here 5/11 as shortstop Ernie Banks throws to first for double play on grounder hit to second baseman Gene Baker by Carl Furillo. Umpire Art Gore calls the play. Cubs won 10-8 halting Dodgers’ winning streak at 11. photo United Press 5/11/55
What many fans may forget is that the Dodgers opened the season on April 13 and won their first ten games. By the time their 11 game winning streak was broken by the Cubs on May 11 they were 22-3 and held on to first place for the entire season. Continue reading →
After graduating college Corman was working on the fringes of advertising and with the encouragement of a friend, Herb Gardner (A Thousand Clowns; I’m Not Rappaport; etc), he took a stab at writing a book. That effort was published as Oh God! A Novel (1971). After that hurdle Corman never looked back and he became a full-time novelist. Oh God! was eventually made into a very popular movie in 1977 starring George Burns and John Denver.
Some of Corman’s other acclaimed novels include The Bust-Out King (1977), The Old Neighborhood (1980); 50 (1987); Prized Possessions (1991); The Boyfriend from Hell (2006) and his most famous work, Kramer vs. Kramer (1977) which was adapted into a movie in 1979 and was the winner of five Academy Awards including Best Picture.
Avery Corman’s success must partially stem from his middle-class upbringing in the Fordham section of the Bronx during the 1940’s and 50’s, where he admits he was not the best student when it came to math and science, but did well in the humanities and was surrounded by a loving, extended family.
My Old Neighborhood Remembered A Memoir is more a series of vignettes rather than a straight autobiography and that style comes off well. Corman shares his memories of childhood during World War II up until he becomes a successful author in the late 1960’s. He paints beautiful word pictures, sometimes tinged with sadness, of growing up in a wondrous place that no longer exists. Most of the stories offer short bursts of family life, games, food, education, sports and all the things that contributed to making the Bronx a special place to grow up in.
Corman’s stories resonate with a tender glow of friendships, family and the feeling that neighborhoods were once really neighborhoods, where the familiarity of rituals, people and places were ingrained in the surroundings.
Here are parts one and two of an exclusive interview with Avery Corman.
Part I, Avery Corman talks about what made the Bronx a special place during the war. His unique living situation and school life.
The Moment Bobby Thomson Hit His “Shot Heard Round The World”
Bobby Thomson connects, Oct. 3, 1951, catcher is Rube Walker, umpire is Lou Jorda photo: Wide World
This article is titled “A Day Brooklyn Dodgers Fans Would Love To Forget” but in actuality Brooklyn Dodgers fans are dwindling in number.
You’d have to be at least 60 years old to have any memory of “dem bums” playing at that great ballpark known as Ebbets Field. The team moved to Los Angeles in 1958, breaking everyone in Brooklyn’s hearts.
The day the Dodgers left Brooklyn for smoggy L.A. was a horrible moment, but no moment was as painful for Dodgers fans as the Giants bottom of the ninth inning comeback of a best two out of three playoff series with the Dodgers.
On Wednesday October 3, 1951 one of the most memorable events in all of baseball history occurred. A seen in the photo above, Dodgers fans were devastated when the New York Giants third baseman Bobby Thomson hit a one out, three run home run to left field off of Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca, to give the Giants a 5-4 miracle win at the Polo Grounds and propel them into the World Series against the Yankees. Continue reading →
Yankees Win Game 1, But Brooklyn Wins Their Only World Series
The World Series began on September 28, 1955. Yes, they actually used to begin the “fall classic” right after fall began. Yankee first baseman Joe Collins slugged his second home run of the game, a two run shot in the bottom of the sixth, to put the Yankees up 6-3 in a game they would go on to win 6-5. The outfielder in the photograph leaping in vain for the baseball is Dodger centerfielder Duke Snider.
This was also the game where Jackie Robinson stole home, which to this day is still disputed by Yankees catcher Yogi Berra who insists Robinson was out.
As covered previously by stuffnobodycaresabout, this World Series would be the Brooklyn Dodgers moment of glory as they ended up beating the Yankees in seven games.