Robert Brown “Bobby” Thomson (1923 – 2010)
In memory of Bobby Thomson’s passing today, we are reposting two recent articles from Books on Baseball. The first article is a review of a recent book about “The shot heard round the world” while the second article is about the various broadcasters who had a part in this historical baseball moment.
Book Review: Miracle Ball: My Hunt for the Shot Heard ‘Round the World by Brian Biegel
Better known as the Shot Heard Round the World. Bobby Thomson’s home run in early October of 1951 gave the New York Giants a dramatic ninth inning playoff victory over the Brooklyn Dodgers and a berth in the World Series against the New York Yankees.
That much is well-known, but what happened to the baseball Thomson sent over the left field wall at the Polo Grounds?
The fans lucky enough to catch the balls Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire hit to gain their place in history made headlines, but 50 years earlier who had the ball from, arguably, the most dramatic home run in baseball history.
Therein lays the premise of Miracle Ball by author Brian Biegel.
However, the book is more than just the search for a baseball. It is tale of just how much baseball meant to Americans in 1951, particularly New Yorkers who had three teams to choose from. Biegel introduces the reader to several characters, including Bobby Thomson himself, along the way to a surprise ending. It is also a personal journey for the author and speaks to the strength of family.
For me, Miracle was one of those books you just couldn’t book down. I would try, but inevitably found myself returning to it a short time later to see where Biegel’s search would lead him next. Miracle hits a home run and is a book I would recommend, not only to baseball fans but anyone interested in the search for the truth.
Image to right is the famous picture of a despondent Ralph Branca, the losing pitcher.
Wayne’s Rating: Home Run
( Amazon: 4.15 / Goodreads 4.14 / B&N 4.00)
Listen to audio interview with author Brian Biegel
Read a Q&A with author Brian Biegel from ESPN.
Here is a great list from the New York Times about the game and its key players.
Almost every baseball fan is familiar with Russ Hodge’s famous home run call…
Hartung down the line at third, not taking any chances. Lockman without too big of a lead at second, but he’ll be running like the wind if Thomson hits one. Branca throws. There’s a long drive. It’s gonna be, I believe…The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! Bobby Thomson hits into the lower deck of the left-field stands! The Giants win the pennant and they’re going crazy! They’re going crazy! Oh-ho!
What most people don’t realize is that another famous announcer was also calling the game–Ernie Harwell. The video link below has Ernie talking about his experience of not being part of history…The video is part of a wonderful retrospective of the great baseball announcers of the past: Ball Talk: Baseball’s Voices of Summer.
The DVD was produced by one of our Books on Baseball friends Kevin Bender. It contains interviews and famous moments with Mel Allen, Jack Brickhouse, Jack Buck, Curt Gowdy and, in the video below, Ernie Harwell and Red Barber. You should definitely make the DVD part of you home collection.
Hear Ernie Harwell talk about Russ Hodges and the derivation of the famous call