Crowd, Players Go Crazy as Thomson’s Homer Wins Pennant for Giants
The New York Giants’ Bobby Thomson hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning of the final playoff game to defeat the Brooklyn Dodgers on Oct. 3, 1951, a mighty blast known as the “Shot Heard ’Round the World.” Thomson’s climactic home run won the National League pennant, and his teammates and hometown fans in the Polo Grounds were delirious with joy and disbelief. Players mobbed Thomson as he crossed home plate, while frenzied fans let out a roar and swarmed onto the field.
It was one of the most dramatic moments in baseball history, and many newspaper reporters were on hand to capture the details of that incredible event, as seen in the following four newspaper articles.
These copyrighted articles were all published by the Springfield Union (Springfield, Massachusetts) on Oct. 4, 1951:
Giants Show How to Rise from Coffin
Last-Ditch Feat Beats All Fiction; Delirious Scene Follows Win
By Whitney Martin
New York, Oct. 3 (AP)—The Giants came back from the dead today.
Came back to a thunderous roar such as the staid old Polo Grounds, or any other ball park, never experienced before. Came back to a scene of such wild-eyed, hysterical madness that the very din reverberated from the cold gray walls of Yankee Stadium across the river, where tomorrow Leo Durocher’s team of destiny engages the Yankees in the first game of the World Series.
Words are pitiful when it comes to describing the scene which began to unfold its ragged, delirious pattern as soon as Bobby Thomson’s mighty drive had cleared the lower barrier in left field.
Scant minutes before it seemed that midnight had most surely arrived for the Cinderella team. Sal Maglie, the great competitor to whom Durocher had entrusted this most crucial of all his team’s 157 games, suddenly had disintegrated. Three runs had crossed the plate to give the elated Dodgers a 4-1 lead, and probably not a spectator among the 34,000-plus but had already buried the New York club.
It couldn’t happen. The way Don Newcombe was pitching the idea that the Giants could make up that three-run deficit was preposterous. That happens only in fiction.
When Alvin Dark singled to right there was a faint gleam of hope for long-suffering Giant fans. The corpse had blinked. Then Don Mueller singled to right, and the Dodgers held a club meeting at the mound.
Whitey Lockman doubled to left, scoring Dark, and time was called as a stretcher was brought out and Mueller, who had injured an ankle sliding into third, was toted gently to the distant clubhouse. The Dodgers huddled nervously about the mound during the recess. This wasn’t the funeral they had anticipated. Something had gone wrong.
When play was resumed Newcombe had departed. Ralph Branca was on the mound, and Thomson was the batter.
The first pitch was a strike just above the knees, and then came the pitch that Branca forever will remember in his nightmares. There was the swing of powerful arms, the sharp crack of a solidly-hit ball, and a fleeting moment of breathless tension, a calm before all hell broke loose.
Before Bobby had rounded third base, his long face creased by a tremendous grin, the whole Giant bench was milling at the plate in a wild, inarticulate reception committee.
The loudspeaker had announced that spectators would not be permitted on the field until the players had reached their dressing room. It was like trying to stem Maglie’s native Niagara Falls with a fish net.
The fans swarmed out on the field as teammates hoisted the rumpled Thomson on their shoulders for the triumphant march to the clubhouse. Ignored in the bedlam were the Dodgers, who again came so close, and again saw World Series gold snatched from their clutching hands.
Forgotten in the mad excitement were the heartbreaks of earlier innings; the solidly-hit balls which somehow found fielders’ hands; that nightmarish eighth inning, with Maglie’s wild pitch a seemingly fatal blow to Giant hopes.
The team of destiny had come through, arisen from the dead, and long-suffering fans, loyal to the memory of John McGraw, and with fond memories of the great teams of his era, [and] at the era of Bill Terry, emerged to shout themselves speechless in acclaim for the team that had done the impossible—the 1951 New York Giants.
Year’s Most Important Homer Turns Loose Wild Polo Grounds Tumult
Giants Celebrate Pennant Victory with Noisy Vocal Barrage; Bobby Thomson Floats on Air
New York, Oct. 3 (AP)—Bobby Thomson, Scottish-born resident of Metropolitan New York, wrote a storybook finish to the spine-tingling National League pennant race late today and then pandemonium broke loose in the Polo Grounds.
Never in history has Coogan’s Bluff, under which rests the home of the New York Giants, reverberated with such sound as followers of the new National League champions cut loose with all their vocal cords.
Best Run of Year
They had been quiet most of the afternoon, especially after the Brooklyn Dodgers took a 4-1 lead in the eighth inning, but with a mighty roar that continued long afterwards they opened all their pent-up emotions as Thomson’s 32d and most important home run of the year settled in the lower left field stands with two mates aboard.
“It was a high fast one and a little inside,” Thomson shouted above the din of the dressing room noise. “I saw Branca (Ralph) let loose with his fast pitch and I was all set.”
The Giants’ dressing room was such confusion that hardly anyone could get in a word.
But out of the backslapping, noise and general hullaboo came:
“Never saw a greater finish,” declared Ford Frick, newly elected baseball commissioner. “And I have been watching games for more than 30 years.”
“It’ll be Dave Koslo tomorrow,” shouted Leo Durocher as he tried to catch his breath.
Out of Two Games
There was only one note of sadness to the Giants’ first pennant since 1937. Don Mueller, whose single to right field kept the New Yorkers’ ninth inning rally going, will not be able to play the first and probably the second game of the World Series opening against the Yankees tomorrow.
Mueller sprained his left ankle going into third on Whitey Lockman’s double to the left field corner.
“Don will be out for two or three days,” said Dr. Anthony Palermo, team physician.
“In that case either Clint Hartung, who ran for Mueller, or Hank Thompson will be in right field,” said Durocher. “It depends on who the Yankees pitch.”
Reminded that Casey Stengel has nominated Allie Reynolds as the Yanks’ hurler, Durocher replied in that case it would be Thompson.
Mueller lay on a table while Dr. Palermo looked at the ankle and joined with the Giants in shouting meaningless words.
Into the jam-packed, hot dressing room came Warren Giles, new president of the National League; manager Charlie Dressen of the Dodgers; Jackie Robinson, the Dodgers’ great second baseman; Walter O’Malley, president of the Brooks; and scores of others high in baseball to heap their words of praise on a team that was considered out of the race less than two months ago.
“I told you we’d finish one, two,” Dressen said as he congratulated Durocher. “I was right only we were second.”
Then in came Robinson to join with his manager in wishing Durocher and the Giants well in their coming Series.
“I don’t feel sorry for myself,” said Robinson, “but I do feel bad that we let the Brooklyn fans down.”
Somebody grabbed Durocher around the shoulder and yelled that he did a great job of master-minding in the ninth inning.
“I sure did,” said Durocher jokingly. “It didn’t take much master-minding to get those hits that set it up for Bobby.”
Somebody else told Leo he had done a great job.
“Not me,” retorted Leo quickly “The men who did the great job are in the other room.”
“We were lucky to win it,” Durocher said as he sat down at his desk, wiped the sweat from his brow and collected his thoughts.
“That’s the toughest ball club in America next door,” he said, nodding toward the Dodgers’ dressing room. “When you beat them you know you’re beating a great team.”
Asked if he had said anything on the bench before the start of the Giants’ ninth, Durocher replied:
“I told the boys we had three big outs left. You haven’t given up all year so don’t give up now. Let’s get some runs. And the reply, almost in a chorus, was, ‘we’ll get the bums.’”
“I knew I hit the ball hard but it started sinking very fast,” said Thomson of his 32d homer.
Just Floated Around
“But when I saw it go into the stands I don’t think I touched the ground a single time the remainder of the way. I just floated around. It was that kind of a feeling.”
Sal Maglie, who came close to losing the game, could hardly be pried away from Thomson as photographers shouted for picture after picture, writers pressed in for information and fans jammed in to shout their joy.
“You wouldn’t even have believed that finish if the script had been written in Hollywood,” shouted everybody at somebody.
And you wouldn’t have believed the Giants’ dressing room could have been such a wild and wooly place after the Dodgers went ahead 4-1.
Eddie Brannick, Giants’ secretary, died a thousand deaths in his center field office overlooking the field as the Dodgers crossed the plate three times in the eighth. But he rallied quickly and had the bottles popping only minutes after the players swarmed into their quarters—howling like collegians after a football game.
Durocher paused long enough to discuss the World Series, almost forgotten in the furore of the pennant fight.
“Well,” he said, “the Yankees never lose. You’ve got to work real hard to beat them. But I’ve got a good club and we’ll battle them. I’m pitching Koslo tomorrow.”
Leo was forced to change his pitching plans when Larry Jansen was called to Maglie’s relief in the ninth.
And all this time the mob, several thousand strong, stood outside, yelling itself hoarse, first for one player, then another.
They called for Thomson and would not be content until he put in his appearance. Then it was Maglie, Stanky, Durocher, and finally all of the team—that is all of the players that were in presentable dress.
It’ll be a long time before such a scene is repeated.
Thompson to Play Left Field in Place of Mueller; Delirious Mob Leaves Load of Debris
New York, Oct. 3. (AP)—The pennant assured the Giants of a permanent place in the record books for it was their 16th, tying the Chicago Cubs for the National League high.
They won two in the 1890s to go with 14 since 1900. But they’ve been to only 12 previous World Series. In 1904 the Giants refused to play the upstarts from the American League.
Against the Yanks they’re 2-3. The first all-New York Series in 1921 and 1922 went to the Giants. In 1923 the Yanks discovered the secret. They walloped the Giants and did it again in 1936 and 1937.
With Don Mueller out of action because of a sprained ankle, Leo Durocher will break up his winning combination for tomorrow’s Series opener. Against righthander Allie Reynolds, he will play Hank Thompson in right field.
Thompson started the year at third base for the Giants but gave way to Bobby Thomson when Durocher decided to move him in from the outfield in late July.
The weatherman must be in cahoots with the Giants. The sun shone brightly at Ebbets Field Monday when New York won 3-1. Yesterday’s sunshine turned to showers as Brooklyn piled up a 10-0 margin. It threatened all morning but the sun finally peeked through just before Thomson hit the jackpot. Giant fans basked in a cozy sunless warmth the rest of the night.
The ground crew will be from now until Saturday picking up the debris scattered by the delirious mob that swirled over the field after Thomson’s pennant-winner. It’s a good thing the first two games are at Yankee Stadium.
A gent in a box seat who kept tugging on a bottle of Scotch and yowling for the Dodgers, was so stunned by Thomson’s homer he left two inches of Scotch in the bottle and wobbled toward Flatbush.
“We want Leo, we want Leo,” chanted a throng of Giant fans who crowded around the door to the Giant dressing room in center field after the game. When Durocher appeared at the door, the fans let out a great cheer.
Durocher waved and smiled happily, then took off his cap and tossed it to the fans.
Virtually all the Giant team then appeared at the door, everyone getting a big hand.
The result was an emotional letdown for Brooklyn fans, especially the feminine contingent. Seated in the right field stands after the game were half a dozen girls attired in Brooklyn-decorated jackets, crying their hearts out.
Crowd Is Stunned When Thomson Hits His Homer
Fans Refuse to Leave Polo Grounds after Giant Celebration Swings into Full Stride
By Dutch Robbins
Polo Grounds, New York, Oct. 3—No one wanted to go home after Bobby Thomson hit the three-run homer that made the Giants the National League pennant winners. Every one of the 34,320 fans wanted to hang around and help the Giants celebrate. They stormed the runway leading into the Giants’ dressing room and they cheered each and every member of this great New York team of Leo Durocher, the fightingest team that was ever put together.
Those who couldn’t get out of the stands and down on the field just stood looking out over the diamond where it all happened and exclaiming everything which could be exclaimed about such a windup to such a terrific National League race.
Quick to Congratulate
Give Jackie Robinson, Brooklyn’s great Negro second baseman, credit. Jackie hates to lose but he’s a good loser. He was the first Dodger player to enter the Giants’ dressing room and offer congratulations to one and all.
No need to say—the Giants staged a celebration in their dressing room that will never be forgotten. Durocher let them go the limit despite the fact that the World Series with the Yankees opens tomorrow in Yankee Stadium at 1:00 p.m. If the Giants win the series they’ll really be miracle men.
As one writer in the press box put it—let’s call off the World Series and let the Major League baseball season wind up on this happy note. Meaning the dramatic finish of Thomson’s home run.
Mr. Hero Bobby Thomson could just as well have been the goat of this final game. With the Giants trying to get the tying run in the second, Whitey Lockman singled. Thomson followed with another single, put his head down and kept running, figuring that Lockman would race around to third and the play would be at that bag. He got to second base all right but also found Lockman, who had been held up by Durocher, there. He promptly became the second out of the inning and the New York threat died.
Some say it was a high pitch and some say it was a waist-high pitch that Thomson hit. Thomson doesn’t care what kind of pitch it was. All he knows is that he hit it.
Does It His Way
Don Newcombe took his own sweet time getting out on the mound every inning. It brought a lot of booes from the fans but it didn’t bother big Newk. He had a job to do and he was doing it his way.
When the Dodgers were leading 4-1 in the eighth, everyone was asking, “who’ll pitch in the World Series, the bat boy or [manager] Dressen himself?” The Dodger mound staff was on its last legs today and the Yankees figured to breeze through the Series against them. The Giants may make it much more interesting.
The weather today wasn’t the best for such a baseball outing. It was very cloudy and there was a threat of rain in the air all afternoon. The game was played from the third inning on with the lights turned on.
The crowd of 34,320 made the total attendance for the three-game playoff series 103,636. Today’s outpouring also raised the Giants’ home attendance for the season to 1,132,469.
There’s no limit to what this Bobby Thomson can do in helping the Giants to win games and keep his own name in the headlines. When he singled in the second, it became the 15th consecutive game he has hit safely in. His total output in hits for the game was a single, double and homer.
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