Shot heard ‘round the world’
OCTOBER 3, 1951
NEW YORK CITY
Branca throws. There's a long fly. It's gonna be I believe… THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT! THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT! THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT!”
So many things came together that day to make Russ Hodges’ radio play-by-play from New York’s Polo Grounds arguably the most dramatic recording in sports history. It was the perfect storm; A New York Giants comeback from 13½ games down in August, a Brooklyn Dodgers’ collapse, the third game of a best of three playoff to decide the Pennant, the Giants’ last chance in the bottom of the 9th down 4-2, two men on, one out. Second baseman Bobby Thomson with an 0-1 count. The photo shows what happened.
Bobby Thomson hits home run to win the pennant
Oh, and there’s the little thing about stealing signs from center field with a telescope, but that’s another story.
Bobby Thompson hitting a home run wasn’t so unusual. He hit 32 of them in 1951, 264 in a 15-year career. Thomson also had over a thousand RBI (1,026) in his career, and was a lifetime .270 hitter. Still, what happened at 3:58 p.m. on October 3, 1951 was as dramatic as anything that had ever happened in sports. The discovery of a recording of the play-by-play only intensified the drama. It’s ironic that a recording of the radio broadcast is saved for posterity in that that game was one of the first to be televised nationally.
MLB feature on “shot heard round the world”:
The Wall Street Journal, Sept 19, 2006
The Echoing Green
, by Joshua Prayer, 2006