Originally written on The Baseball Page  |  Last updated 10/5/12

 

NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK - "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 in New York's Polo Grounds to make Russ Hodges' radio play-by-play and film ofBobby Thomson's pennant clinching home run arguably the most dramatic moment in sports history. It was the perfect storm; A New York Giants comeback from 13½games 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 next pitch he put in the left field seats. Oh, and there's the little thing about stealing signs from center field with a telescope, but that's another story.

Bobby Thomson 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. Eastern Time on October 3, 1951 was as dramatic as anything that had ever happened in sports. The discovery of an audio 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, but the TV broadcast was apparently not recorded.

Russ Hodges play-by-play audio

Contributing sources:
NPR Story on Shot heard round the world 
October 3, 1951 box score 
The Wall Street Journal, Sept 19, 2006
The Echoing Green, by Joshua Prayer, 2006

This baseball history calendar is brought to you by TODAY in BASEBALL. Spread the word. Hyperlinkwww.todayinbaseball.com to your website.

 

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