Bobby Thomson has died. You never heard of him? Then you're unfit to be an American and must move right now to someplace outside the country, like Nancy Pelosi's congressional district. Bobby Thomson was the greatest heartbreaker in the history of sport...well, in the history of Brooklyn, New York.
Bobby Thomson is the one who hit the “shot heard round the world” in the 1951 playoff game between the Giants and the Dodgers, after the Giants came back from 13 1/2 games down on August 11 to tie the Dodgers and earn three game play off series. The Giants scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth to win 5-4. He did it with 20 year old Willie Mays waiting on deck.
What I didn’t realize until just recently is that the guest of honor at my sixteenth birthday part was involved in that game. That’s right, Alvin Dark who led off the inning with a single and then scored just ahead of Thomson’s homerun to cut the deficit to 4-2, surprised me by coming to my sixteenth birthday party.
You talk about a night. A dozen or so high school baseball nuts (with one girl as I recall) sitting around talking baseball with Al Dark who not only played in the majors, but had also managed the A’s to two World Series (72 and 73). And we talked and talked and talked about baseball.
The 1951 playoff game was made famous by Russ Hodges’ radio call, “The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!” (Interestingly, long time (and recently deceased) Tiger broadcaster Ernie Harwell was calling the game for the Giants on their flagship station.) This 1951 comeback later became the scenario for an episode of MASH.