Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Shot Heard 'Round the World.

Dateline: October 3, 1951. The Polo Grounds,, New York.

3:58 pm.

Ralph Branca was on the mound for dem bums The Brooklyn Dodgers.
The Dodgers were up 4-2 and it was the bottom of the ninth.

As late as August 11, 1951 the Dodgers had a 13 1/2 game lead. But the Giants went on to win 16 in a row and 37 of their last 44, tying the Dodgers and forcing a three game playoff.

Bobby Thomson was at the plate. And a little known fact was that a rookie nicknamed "The Say Hey Kid" was on deck. Young Willie Mays was about to become a witness to history.

Whitey Lockman was on second, having just stroked a double scoring Alvin Dark and sending Don Mueller to third. Mueller slid awkwardly into the bag and broke his ankle. Clint Hartung was sent in as a pinch runner.

Charlie Dressen, the Dodgers manager, went to his bullpen. Branca got the call over Carl Erskine, despite the fact that Thompson, who was due up next, had blasted a two run shot off of Branca in the first game of the series. Dressen had seen Erskine bounce a few curves while warming up and he didn't think Erskine had his stuff that day.

So there it was-3:58 pm on a crisp autumn day in Coogan's Bluff in Washington Heights New York (right next to Harlem) as two players who knew each other very well faced off for the right to have their team face the Yankees in the World Series.

Thomson dug into the plate and Branca sent the first pitch right over the middle for a called strike.

Hartung danced just a little off of third as Branca hurled a high fastball for what he thought would be a ball, setting up his next pitch, which he planned to be a breaking ball down and away,

Thomson swung, and a few moments later announcer Russ Hodges was screaming "the Giants Win The Pennant!! The Giants Win The Pennant! The Giants Win The Pennant!!!"

Bobby Thomson passed away yesterday. Nicknamed "The Staten Island Scot" because of his Scottish heritage, Thomson will forever be remembered for perhaps the greatest walk off home run in the history of Baseball (although Pirate fans will tell you it was Bill Mazeroski's home run in the bottom of the 9th of the 7th game of the 1960 world series when the underdog Bucs beat the mighty Yankees in Forbes Field, Pittsburgh.)


Anonymous said...

The shot heard around the world- John Lennon

CAPTAIN said...




CHICAGO -- A federal jury found former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich guilty on Tuesday of one count of lying to federal agents, and the judge said he intends to declare a mistrial on the remaining 23 counts.

Rod Blagojevich showed no emotion as the verdict was read, neither smiling nor grimacing.

Prosecutors said immediately that they intend to retry the case against Blagojevich and his co-defendant brother, Robert Blagojevich, as soon as possible. The charges had included the accusation that they had tried to sell or trade President Barack Obama's old Senate seat

CAP OUT .....

Anonymous said...

blago vindicated, federal agents being lied to, who cares...they get lied to by their spouses all the time...

Anonymous said...

By far, the greatest post you've ever written Rump.

Anonymous said...

Captain, with all due respect, let's talk about Blago later.
This is baseball and we're Americans. And Rump set the stage so well for the shot heard 'round the world.
A moment of silence for our game and all that is right with the world on a summer night in August.
God rest ye, Bobby, it was a magnificent swing for the ages.

Anonymous said...

Rump, are you sure it wasnt a one game playoff?

CAPTAIN said...

A great job Rump. Brings back huge memories of me hearing that call of the homerun. I can play that back in my mind over and over again. I may be aging myself, but I can tell you that all of my family are still to this day Giants fans; albeit the San Francisco Giants.

A few more stories behind the story:

The Yankees had completed their season on September 30 and had those three days off. They watched the 3 game series and their pitchers and players got some well needed rest.

Meanwhile, the Giants played three games with the last being on October 3, 1951. Well, the World Series began the next day, on the 4th in Yankee Stadium. Amazingly, the Giants, probably running on pure adrenaline from the day before, beat the Yanks in the opener 5-1. And they led the series 2-1 after three games. But the Yanks were too strong and the extra games caught up with the Giants as they lost three straight after that and the series 4 games to 2.

Also, Yankees pitcher Allie Reynolds pitched in Game One (and lost) and pitched again in game 4, on three days rest, (and won). You rarely see that in this day and age; except maybe when Josh Beckett did it to beat the Yanks in 03.

Finally, two notable rookies who played in that series: Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle. WOW.

Cap Out .....

Rumpole said...

It was a 3 game series.

CAPTAIN said...

Three games:

October 1: Giants 3 Dodgers 1, Ebbets
October 2: Dodgers 10 Giants 0, Polo Grounds
October 3: Giants 5 Dodgers 4, Polo Grounds.

Thomson goes 3 for 4 with a single, double and the home run in the bottom of the ninth to cap a 4 run inning.

Anonymous said...

Does this Goofy guy named "Captain" actually think we do not have the ability to google search?

That we do not have instant 24 hour news flashing all over our web browsers from yahoo to aol?

Does el captain think he is actually breaking news. Word of wisdom "Get a Life".

Now back to baseball.

CAPTAIN said...

Did you hear that Dewey beat Truman?