The ultimate hero of the 1951 NL pennant race has passed away. Bobby Thomson, the Flying Scotsman, died peacefully Monday night at his home in Savannah, Georgia. Thomson played 15 seasons for 5 teams but is best remembered for his "Shot Heard Round the World" in the 3rd and deciding game of the 1951 NL playoffs. Thomson's three-run blast in the bottom of the ninth inning capped what is thought by many to be the greatest pennant race in the history of baseball.
On August 11th 1951 the Giants stood 13 1/2 games behind the Dodgers in the National League standings. The Giants went on to win 37 of their last 44 games and tied the Dodgers after the regular season ended.
After splitting the first two games the third game was played at the Polo Grounds on October 3rd, 1951. Thomson faced Ralph Branca that day and hit the 0-1 pitch into the lower deck in left field. Thomson, ironically, had hit a two run homer of Branca in the first game of the series.
Hall of Fame Giant announcer Russ Hodges made the dramatic call that day of Thomson's home run. His "The Giants Win the Pennant" call rings down through the ages. The Giants had not only won the pennant--they had beaten the Dodgers.
On deck that day was a young rookie who was hoping to not have to come to bat. Willie Mays went on with the Giants to become the greatest player in their long history.
A picture exists of a Dodger player staying in his position to make sure everyone touched all of the bases. Jackie Robinson held his ground until he was assured that the runners had all touched properly. Several years later Robinson was traded to the Giants but retired instead rather than joining the hated Giants.
Bobby Thomson and Ralph Branca made many appearances together over the years and made a small livelihood of signing autographs.
Rest in Peace Bobby, all Giant fans will never forget you.