Ralph Branca Probably Never Played This LP Record
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 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.
When Thomson hit his home run, Giants announcer Russ Hodges on WMCA-AM radio made his dramatic call, screaming over and over “The Giants win the pennant!”
The LP record shown above contains Hodges’ call of the final half inning of the game and was put out by the Giants sponsor, Chesterfield Cigarettes in 1952.
On the back cover various personalities endorse the record.
“I love to play it over and over.” Horace Stoneham. Really? Stoneham was the New York Giants owner.
“The most thrilling moment I ever had in sports!” Toots Shor, who was a famous restauranteur who catered to celebrities and sports figures.
And “Darlings…these are my Giants” Tallulah Bankhead, the motion picture and stage actress who was a huge Giants fan.
One person who certainly never endorsed or probably listened to this record was Ralph Branca, a baseball player who were it not for a home run and an injury, might have been remembered as one of the greats.