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Q & A: Bobby Thomson

MLB All-Star Game Road Show

Monday, October 17, 2005
The Giants win the pennant!
By Larry Schwartz
Special to

Oct. 3, 1951

The New York Giants had made an incredible run, coming from 13 games behind Brooklyn on Aug. 11 to force a three-game playoff with the Dodgers. But it looks as if the Giants have run out of miracles when the Dodgers score three runs in the eighth inning to take a 4-1 lead in today's decisive third game.

But in the ninth the Giants get three hits off Don Newcombe, closing the deficit to 4-2 and putting runners on second and third with one out. Dodgers manager Charlie Dressen brings in Ralph Branca to pitch. They discuss whether to intentionally walk Bobby Thomson, who has 31 homers, with first base open and Willie Mays on deck, but decide not to put the winning run on base.

Branca's first pitch is a called strike. His second pitch is the climax of "The Miracle of Coogan's Bluff." Thomson sends it into the left-field stands in the Polo Grounds for possibly the most famous homer in baseball history, giving the Giants an amazing 5-4 victory and sending them into the World Series. When the long and lean Scot from Staten Island completes his journey around the bases, his jubilant teammates mob him at home plate. And in the broadcast booth, Russ Hodges is screaming, "The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!"

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