Sunday, April 13th, 2014

A few more words about Bobby Thompson

August 17, 2010 by  
Filed under Baseball History

Today’s a bit of a heart-warming day to be a baseball fan.  Considering that the Miracle at Coogan’s Bluff occurred nearly 60 years ago, and that the Polo Grounds has been a housing development for the past 45 years, it is gratifying to see the outpouring of Internet affection for Bobby Thompson and his dramatics from October 1951.

The New York Times obituary contains a typically solid overview of Thomson’s life both pre- and post-baseball, although they give short shrift to his post-1951 accomplishments, calling them (perhaps wrongly) an “anticlimax”. 

Let’s bear in mind that, all together, Thomson had a pretty solid career, the parameters of which deserve some remembering.

  • Thomson had 264 career home runs, which is just a shade below the career 275 amassed by Roger Maris;
  • Thomson played for the Milwaukee Braves, where a spring-training injury helped open the door to a starting outfield job for a young man named Henry Aaron;
  • In his final season, 1960, Thomson was teammates with Ted Williams (and Pumpsie Green) on the Boston Red Sox;
  • Thomson’s final career home runcame off a very young Mudcat Grant;
  • Regrettably, the Flying Scot and the Splendid Splinter never homered in the same game.

A nice piece on Big League Stew, the Yahoo! Sports blog, recalls the lighter side of the post-home run relationship between Thomson and Ralph Branca.

The two men became forever entwined, as this baseball shows:

But don’t forget that there was more to Bobby Thomson than just the one home run.

Comments

2 Responses to “A few more words about Bobby Thompson”
  1. John Sharp says:

    I wrote a brief piece about Bobby Thompson, and how this soft spoken man put himself into baseball immortality with one swing of his bat.

    Baseball is the one sport that takes a man like Thompson into it’s history with open arms, making his accomplishments just as important to the game as those of a man who hit .400, smashed 500 HRs, or collected 3,00 hits.

    The 1951 Giants, and Bobby Thompson’s “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” will always be a part of baseball lore.

  2. monica says:

    Remembering Bobby Thompson in a Different Way
    In his golden years, before his move to Georgia, I had the honor and pleasure of knowing a kind older gentleman who worked out on a treadmill next to me at a local gym in our town. Bobby Thompson was humble, gracious and witty and was loved by all of us at the gym. He was generous in spirit and will be missed. When my daughter’s third grade class was reading a novel (one chapter at a time) about Jackie Robinson, Thompson’s contemporary, Bobby agreed to go to the school and speak to all those little children about teamwork, steadfastness, and focusing on your studies. That was almost 9 years ago. The kids at Mt. Horeb School in Warren, NJ loved him and we all did too! Baseball lost a Giant, but the world lost a great gentleman. RIP Mr Thompson.

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