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My Dad's Best Baseball Story - The Giant's Win the Pennant 1951

My Dad's Best Baseball Story - The Giant's Win the Pennant 1951

My Dad's Best Baseball Story - The Giant's Win the Pennant 1951

I can directly relate my love for baseball to all the stories my dad and I shared. My favorite, the Giant's win of the Pennant in 1951

In this day in history, it is the 60th anniversary of Bobby Thompson’s shining moment.

I recall the story, the story I have heard 4,000 times from my dad. I've heard it 100 more times from baseball historians, read it about 1,000 times and seen the video so many times I felt like I was sitting at the Polo Grounds watching Bobby Thompson's homerun, and hearing Russ Hodges famous words . . ."The Giant's win the pennant"!!

Bobby ThompsonThis story is one of the many reasons why I love Baseball. It is not what happened so much, it's more the fact that this is a story my Dad told me over and over again. I can still hear the words flowing out of his mouth like it just happened.  I can hear the pause in his voice as he relives Thompson's ball's flight, waiting for it to fly over the wall.  I can see the expression on his face as he relives the excitement of the win. Despite hearing it so many times, I still feel like that little kid hanging on every word when my Dad would tell this story even into my thirties.

Dad loved the Boston Braves and Warren Spahn. When he wasn't at a Braves game he was on a baseball field somewhere in the neighborhood. He took it really hard when the Braves left Boston, but his love of baseball would never die.

My Dad at the time of the pennant game was a 13 year old high school freshman at Cambridge Rindge Technical School, a avid baseball fan and part of the famous knot hole gang. The old Braves Field had a fence were kids could catch the game without actually paying to see it by watching through the cracks in the fence. The kids would walk through the incredibly dangerous railroad tracks to catch that glimpse of the Braves. The term  'knot hole game' came from St. Louis but I think it probably held true to many parks of those days.

He went home from school for lunch that day, and in his words, the radio didn't always work so good, so it was really lucky that day that he 'happened 'to catch the game on the radio. It wasn't until much later that I  realized he just might have gone home that day intent on listening to the game.  As he told the story, "I turned on the radio and there was the game." (Sure Dad, I bet you didn't play with the knob for 20 minutes, the rabbit ears, it was all luck. . .)

He never went back to school that day but rather stayed home and listened to Russ Hodges call the entire game. He would then spin the story into how the Giant's comeback was one of the most amazing in history (he mentioned the sign stealing rumors) both during the season and in that game. Then they caught some breaks in the last inning of the final game.  According to Dad they should of had three outs before Thompson ever got his chance. He never went much into detail there.

Bobby ThompsonThe story continued, "Branca gave up a homerun to Thompson once in the series already, and a bunch during the season, why go back to him there?" He always paused at this moment, the expression on his face tense, waiting, far away, as he relived the flight of that ball. 

Then his whole body would explode as he continued the story. "The next thing I heard was The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!"  He would repeat this a little louder with each verse for three, four, sometimes a half dozen times).

At the end I could always see his eyes, still feeling the 13 year old kid and the excitement of what he was lucky enough to hear. He was a great story teller and I wish everyone could hear his story of that day.

"It reminds us of what was once good, and what could be good again."  (Field of Dreams)

Thanks Dad for sharing this story, wish you were still here to spin it.    

 

By Tom Hannon
Monday, 3 Oct 2011

 

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Tagged:
Bobby Thompson, Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Giants, Polo Grounds, Ralph Branca

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