“Forgotten Hollywood”- One Last Shot…

Posted on November 23, 2016 by raideoman1 | No Comments

Manny P. here… ralph_branca_1953

   Ralph Branca’s career was defined by that one high-and-inside fastball. The Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher gave up Bobby Thomson’s famed Shot Heard ‘Round the World still echoes more than six decades later as one of the most famous home runs in baseball history.        RALPH BRANCA —->

   Branca was a three-time All-Star, and spent 12 seasons in the majors. Brought in from the bullpen in the bottom of the ninth inning during the deciding Game 3 of the National League pennant playoff in 1951, he gave up a three-run homer to Thomson that gave the rival New York Giants a stunning 5-4 victory.

   The one-out line drive into the left field lower deck at the Polo Grounds prompted the frenetic call from announcer Russ Hodges, The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The team and its fans celebrated wildly as Thomson breezed around the bases, while Branca, wearing his unlucky #13 jersey, trudged off the mound. Thomson, who also homered off Branca in Game 1, capped a sensational comeback for the Giants, who trailed the Dodgers by more than a dozen games heading toward mid-August.

   For the next 50 years, Branca and Thomson often appeared together at card shows, corporate events, and baseball functions, re-telling the story of the home run that grew into a sports legend. They always were friendly at the affairs, sometimes even teaming up to sing about the big moment. But, it wasn’t until many years later, it was revealed the Giants had a little extra help, too. That’s when it came to light they employed a telescope-and-buzzer system that season to steal signs from opposing catchers. With that advantage, hitters got a boost in their swings. Thomson firmly asserted he didn’t get a sign in advance. A three-time All-Star himself, he stuck to that claim until he died in 2010 at age 86. Branca, however, wasn’t so sure.

   One of the last remaining Boys of Summer, Ralph Branca was 88-68 with a 3.79 ERA in his big league career. He spent the first 11 years with the Dodgers, then played for Detroit and the Yankees before returning to Brooklyn for a final game in 1956. Branca made his debut as a teen in 1944, and went 21-12 with 15 complete games during Jackie Robinson’s first season in 1947. Branca added another win at Yankee Stadium in the World Series.

   He co-founded the Baseball Assistance Team, which aids members of the baseball family in need of financial, medical, or psychological assistance, and served as its president for 17 years. He was a pallbearer at Robinson’s funeral in 1972. His son-in-law was former big league manager Bobby Valentine

   The steadfast Ralph Branca was 90.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016 at 2:15 pm and is filed under Blog by Manny Pacheco. You can follow any comments to this post through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

Bookmark this post:
Digg Del.icio.us Reddit Furl Google Bookmarks StumbleUpon Windows Live Technorati Yahoo MyWeb

Comments are closed.