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Spare a prayer for Bobby Thomson

Posted by Bill Koch on August 17, 2010

Join us here at Ramble On in observing a moment of silence to honor the death of Bobby Thomson. The former New York Giants outfielder died Tuesday at the age of 86.

Thomson earned himself immortality with one swing of his bat in 1951, cracking a three-run homer against Ralph Branca in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Giants the National League pennant in the final game of a best-of-three playoff against the Brooklyn Dodgers. You might not have seen a replay of Thomson’s famous homer, but you’ve certainly heard this call if you’re any kind of baseball fan. It’s never to be forgotten.

Yes, there used to be two teams called the New York Giants – one baseball, one football. The baseball Giants moved to San Francisco in 1957 along with the Dodgers, who settled in Los Angeles.

(The preceding paragraph is directed at those members of Pink Hat Nation who think Major League Baseball started in 2004. To our more informed readers, please excuse the interruption and continue.)

We here at Ramble On make it part of our job to honor the greats of the game who have passed on. Thomson was a career .270 hitter as an infielder and outfielder over 14 seasons in the big leagues. He never had the Hall of Fame talent that one of his teammates on the ’51 Giants, a smiling rookie named Willie Mays, ever possessed. Still, Thomson’s mark on the game is just as permanent thanks to one line drive into the left field seats at the Polo Grounds. He’s right there with Bill Mazeroski in the ’60 World Series, Carlton Fisk in the ’75 World Series, Kirk Gibson in the ’88 World Series and Joe Carter in the ’93 World Series. That’s part of what makes baseball the greatest game of them all.

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