The Moment Bobby Thomson Hit His “Shot Heard Round The 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.
As Giants radio announcer Russ Hodges screamed “the Giants win the pennant” over and over again to a shocked radio audience, two million Brooklynites were crying.
It would be years later that this historical moment would be found to be somewhat tainted by the fact that the Giants were stealing the catcher’s signs from their center field scoreboard and relaying them to the batter.
Bobby Thomson knew what pitch was coming.
In a documentary film, Branca’s Pitch (2013) about Ralph Branca’s life, Branca talks about living with the infamy of the home run and how he dealt with it after finding out the Giants were tipping off their batters to upcoming pitches. It is a documentary worth finding and watching.
If you have a memory of this game we’d love to hear from you.
One non-sequitur concluding observation – if you enlarge the photo at the top to full size, the field appears to be in incredibly bad playing condition around home plate with clumps of mud.
Stealing signs, by any means, was not against any rule of baseball in 1951. What Branca doesn’t tell you or anyone, is that Preacher Roe, a Dodger starting pitcher who went 22-3 in 1951, was throwing illegal spitballs the entire time he was with Brooklyn. He sold his story to Sports Illustrated a year or so after his retirement and he detailed his secret. There was cheating going on in 1951, but it was the Dodgers who were trying to cheat the Giants, but since the other story is better, that fact will never be discussed. Thanks. pm
Good comment Phil. Didn’t know the Preacher Roe story. Thanks for sharing.