Bobby Thomson, the man immortalized with his "Shot Heard 'Round the World" in 1951, died Monday night at his home in Savannah, Ga. He was 86 and had been in failing health for several years, the Fox & Weeks funeral home said Tuesday.
He was a good player, not a Hall of Famer. Yet on that October afternoon, with one swing, Thomson transformed a pennant race for one season into a moment for the ages.
He hit perhaps the sport’s most famous home run, connecting off Ralph Branca for a three-run drive in the bottom of the ninth inning that sent the New York Giants over the Brooklyn Dodgers in the decisive Game 3 of their National League playoff.
The drive into the left-field stands at the Polo Grounds and broadcaster Russ Hodges’ ecstatic declaration — four times shouting “the Giants win the pennant!” — remain one of the signature moments in major league history.
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“I’ll miss him,” Branca said. “I mellowed over the years and we became good friends. I enjoyed being around him.”
NO PAY FOR F-ROD
The Mets placed closer Francisco Rodriguez on the disqualified list and exercised their right to convert his contract to a non-guaranteed contract. He will not be paid until he is deemed able to perform his job again.
Rodriguez has a torn thumb ligament sustained during a fight with his girlfriend’s father and had season-ending surgery Tuesday.
Atlanta All-Star second baseman Martin Prado was activated from the disabled list after recovering from a broken right pinkie finger, and installed at third base and the No. 3 spot in the batting order, both previously held by Chipper Jones, who had a season-ending knee injury last week. ... The Phillies activated All-Star second baseman Chase Utley from the DL, less than seven weeks after he had thumb surgery. ... The Red Sox activated second baseman Dustin Pedroia (broken bone left foot) from the 15-day DL, recalled outfielder Daniel Nava from Triple-A Pawtucket and placed utilityman Eric Patterson on the 15-day DL with a neck strain. ... White Sox closer Bobby Jenks (back spasms) will stay off the disabled list for now after throwing a problem-free bullpen session before Tuesday’s game at Minnesota. He is expected to be available to pitch today. ... Cardinals center fielder Colby Rasmus said he’ll miss a few games with a strained right calf. ... The Nationals made room on their 40-man roster for No. 1 draft pick Bryce Harper by moving right-handed pitcher Luis Atilano from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL.