Baseball legend Bobby Thomson, whose “shot heard ’round the world” capped a miracle comeback to win the 1951 National League pennant for the New York Giants over the rival Brooklyn Dodgers, has died. He was 86.
Above my computer, where I write baseball each day are a number of pictures, right in the middle is a photograph of that moment in baseball history signed by Thomson and Ralph Branca, the ill-fated pitcher pitcher for the Dodgers who gave up the homer. Frequently Branca was quoted as saying “I lost a game, but I made a friend.”
Thomson was born October 25, 1923 in Glasgow, Scotland and played in the majors from 1946 to 1960. He he grew up on Staten Island and signed with the Giants’ organization for a $100 bonus in 1942 out of Curtis High School. Thomson played for the Giants from 1946 to 1953 and then again in 1957. He also played for the Milwaukee Braves, Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles.
Last month, on July 20, I wrote this piece and I share it again in case you missed it.
When does a miracle begin?
This is not so much an unanswerable theological question but a baseball question with an answer. On July 18, 1951, the New York Giants third baseman Hank Thompson was in a slump and hitting .239. On top of that, he had been spiked and the Giants needed a replacement. Sitting on the bench was an outfielder who had lost his job to the rookie Willie Mays. Now this guy had some infield experience and after he took over third base on July 20, 1951, he hit .357 the rest of the season and limited Thompson to just 17 at bats. The new third baseman’s name was Bobby Thomson who ended up hitting the “Shot that was Heard ‘Round the World,” giving the Giants the 1951 pennant and creating was known as “the Miracle of Coogan’s Bluff.”
Talk about walkoffs! Bobby Thompson’s Shot Heard ‘Round the World