"The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!"
Russ Hodges' classic radio call of what's become known as "The Shot heard 'round the World," still resonates with fans who weren't around when Bobby Thomson connected off of Brooklyn's Ralph Branca at the Polo Grounds in October of 1951. The man who hit the ball, sadly, has passed away at the age of 86. Bobby Thomson's death yesterday was confirmed by a funeral home in Savannah, GA where he resided.
Thomson, known as the "Staten Island Scot," alluding to his birth in Glasgow, Scotland and youth in New York, batted .270 over 15 seasons in the major leagues, mostly with the Giants. He only played 43 games in the AL, 40 with Boston, the other three with the Orioles, in 1960.
He enjoyed his final "big day" in the major leagues at Griffith Stadium on Sunday April 24, 1960, a game my father and I attended. He went 4-for-5 with a homer, a triple, and 4 RBI in an 11-10 loss to the Senators. The Red Sox racked up 20 hits that day, but a 4-run eighth put Washington up 11-7, and the Senators' withstood a Boston rally - including Thomson's home run - to prevail.
Clint Hartung, who scored ahead of Thomson's homer in that 1951 playoff game, passed away last month. Hartung entered the game as a pinch runner for Don Mueller, who's still with us at age 83. Whitey Lockman, who doubled in that ninth inning, died in March of 2009. Ralph Branca, who threw the pitch, turned 84 in January.