Showing posts with label Bobby Thomson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bobby Thomson. Show all posts

Monday, September 26, 2011

Ralph Branca: A Moment in Time - Book Review

The essence of a man’s life cannot be captured by any singular event or circumstance. Ralph Branca’s new autobiography A Moment in Time: An American Story of Baseball, Heartbreak and Grace (Scribner, 2011), attempts to quell the notion that his career is summarized by the high-inside fastball he threw to Bobby Thomson on October 3rd, 1951.

Informed by one of his Detroit Tiger teammates in 1954 of the Giants intricate sign-stealing system that included a buzzer system and telescopes, Branca held on to his secret for decades. Battling the burden of bearing the weight of the hopes of an entire city being dashed by one pitch, Branca finally felt that the time was right to illuminate his career after being quiet for so long.

Click here to see video of Branca discussing his new book, as well as to read the entire review.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Carl Erskine talks sign stealing and the 1951 Giants and Dodgers rivalry

Carl Erskine was one ill-placed curveball from possibly changing the fate of the 1951 playoff between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants.

When manager Charlie Dressen checked with his coach Clyde Sukeforth on the status of both Erskine and Ralph Branca to relieve a tiring Don Newcombe, Sukeforth replied, “He [Erskine] just bounced his curveball.” A few pitches later, Bobby Thomson stepped up to the plate and blasted the infamous home run off of Ralph Branca that became widely known as “The Shot Heard ‘Round the World.”

This is Part 5 of a series of interviews with Brooklyn Dodger great Carl Erskine about his experiences playing with the storied franchise. Erskine appeared recently in New York on behalf of the Bob Feller Museum and was kind enough to grant us access to produce this series of vignettes regarding his career.

Much speculation has developed as to whether the Giants were using a sign-stealing system that gave Thomson advanced knowledge of Branca’s inside fastball. Author Joshua Prager drew an admission from the late Giants third-string catcher Sal Yvars in his book, The Echoing Green, that the Giants were indeed relaying pitch information to their hitters. Thomson, however, until the day he died, vehemently denied that he had any knowledge of Branca’s offerings.

Erskine, who has often discussed his recollections of that fateful October day in 1951, didn’t seem to have ill feelings about the issue of sign-stealing 60 years later.

“Well, if you go to that year, ’51, there is no rule that I know of about using a telescope or a set of binoculars to steal signs,” he said. “It’s always assumed that ethically you steal them on the field, second base, or if the catcher is a little sloppy so that the first base can see, or some mannerism that the catcher does every time he calls a curveball his elbow goes out. Other than the ethics involved of mechanically stealing, baseball didn’t have any rule against it.”

That’s not to say that Erskine didn’t have his suspicions about it taking place across the league.

“We used to think Chicago, with that scoreboard in Wrigley Field, where they used to hang the numbers, there are big openings,” he said. “Those guys probably stole signs from the scoreboard; nobody ever checked it.”

Special thanks also goes to the promoters of JP Sports' East Coast National Show for accommodating us during Mr. Erskine's appearance.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bobby Thomson, famous for the 'shot heard 'round the world dies at 86

Bobby Thomson, the famed outfielder for the New York Giants died Monday at his home in Savannah, Georgia. He was 86. Thomson gained notoriety for his home run off of Ralph Branca to win the 1951 National League pennant, which would later be labeled the "Shot Heard 'Round The World". Click here for a more complete write-up of Thomson's passing.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Bobby Thomson says he's had enough of Ralph Branca

New York Giants hero, Bobby Thomson in a recent interview with the New York Post, said that he's had "enough". Enough of the talk about "The Shot Heard 'Round the World".

"I've had enough of Ralph Branca talk, and I'm sure he's had enough of Thomson talk," Thomson said in his chat with Steve Serby.

While Joshua Prager's book, "The Echoing Green" quotes multiple sources that the Giants were stealing signals all season, Thomson vehemently denies that he knew what was coming during that fateful at-bat.

"Oh no, I didn't know. [Giants manager Leo] Durocher started stealing signs, and I stole signs the early part of the year. It didn't take long to realize if I've gotta steal signs to know what's coming to stay in the big leagues, I better try something else."

Thomson moved to a retirement community in Savannah, Georgia a few years ago, and is happy with the solace it provides him from the Metropolitan area.

"I just got a little tired of having that home run taken away from me. I was glad to get down here in Savannah and get away from it."

More Info -
Steve Serby's Q+A with Bobby Thomson - New York Post

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Larry Jansen, 89, 1920-2009 Two Time 20 Game Winner For the New York Giants

Two-time 20 game winner Larry Jansen passed away October 10, 2009 at his home in Oregon at the age of 89. reported an article announcing Jansen's passing which featured remembrances from Cy Young Award winners Gaylord Perry and Mike McCormick, who received tutelage from Jansen while he coached the Giants from 1961-1971. Jansen pitched 8 seasons with the Giants from 1947-1954, recording the win in the infamous 1951 "Shot Heard 'Round The World" game between the Dodgers and Giants where Bobby Thomson homered off of Ralph Branca to put the Giants into the 1951 World Series. Jansen resurfaced briefly with the Reds in 1956 and continued to pitch until 1960 with Portland of the Pacific Coast League.