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Bobby Thomson, N.Y. Giants home-run hero, dies

Matt Schudel

Bobby Thomson, who hit one of the most historic home runs in baseball -- the renowned "Shot Heard 'Round the World" in 1951 -- has died at age 86, according to reports from the New York Daily News and other sources.

Thomson was a hard-hitting third baseman for the New York Giants when he came to bat in the ninth inning of the final game of a three-game playoff against the Brooklyn Dodgers on Oct. 3, 1951. The winning team would win the National Leauge pennant and face the New York Yankees in the World Series.

The Giants were trailing 4-1 entering the bottom of the ninth and pushed across one run against Dodgers pitcher Don Newcombe, who was replaced by Ralph Branca. Thomson hit Branca's second pitch over the short leftfield porch at the Polo Grounds, giving the Giants a dramatic 5-4 victory.

Thomson was besieged by fans and teammates, who hoisted him onto their shoulders and carried him off the field as the Dodgers trudged to the clubhouse in ignominy. Two of the greatest broadcasters in baseball history, Ernie Harwell (who died May 4) and Red Barber, announced the game, but it was a third announcer -- Russ Hodges -- whose frenzied call of "The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!" has gone down in baseball lore.

Harwell and Barber reflect on the memorable game here:

By Matt Schudel  |  August 17, 2010; 1:42 PM ET
Categories:  Matt Schudel  
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