Personal Notes

September 14th, 2015

The St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs all play within the same National League division. They are arguably the three best teams in baseball. They are separated by only a few games; and, since they play within the same division, they will face each other many times before the end of the season on September 30th. This creates the opportunity to have a pennant race not seen since the famous 1951 pennant race between the New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers which gave rise to the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World’” and “The Miracle of Coogan’s Bluff”.

The “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” is an epithet used to describe a game-winning home run by New York Giants outfielder and third baseman Bobby Thomson off of Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca at the Polo Grounds in New York City on October 3, 1951, to win the National League (NL) pennant. Thomson’s dramatic three-run homer came in the ninth inning of the decisive third game of a three-game playoff for the pennant in which the Giants trailed, 4 runs to 2.

The game—the first ever televised nationally—was seen by millions of viewers across America and heard on radio by millions more, including thousands of American servicemen stationed in Korea, listening on Armed Forces Radio. The classic drama of snatching victory from defeat to secure a pennant was intensified by the epic cross-town rivalry between the Giants and Dodgers, and by a remarkable string of victories in the last weeks of the regular season by the Giants, who won 37 of their last 44 games to catch the first-place Dodgers and force a playoff series to decide the NL champion. The Giants’ late-season rally and 2-to-1-game playoff victory, capped by Thomson’s moment of triumph, are collectively known in baseball lore as the “Miracle of Coogan’s Bluff.”

Thomas M. Riddle
President, VNFA

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