Since today is Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d post a Major League Moment that I’ve been enamored with since childhood.
Much like yesterday’s video, today’s clip is another that all baseball fans have seen time and time again over the years.
To set the scene, it’s October 3, 1951 and it’s the ninth inning in the third game of a three-game playoff between the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants. At stake is the National League pennant.
The winner goes on to play the cross-town New York Yankees in the World Series and the loser goes home.
The play—in and of itself—is amazing, but when you factor in the numerous background details it becomes all the more historic.
- In early August, the Giants trailed the Dodgers by as many as 13 ½ games.
- The Giants went on an absolute tear, winning 37 of their final 44 games to tie the Dodgers on the final day of the season and force the three-game playoff.
- In the first game of the series Bobby Thomson hit a game-winning home run off of Ralph Branca, the same pitcher he took deep for this famous home run.
The situation couldn’t have been bigger or more dramatic as this was back before playoffs were the norm.
Prior to 1969 league pennants were awarded to the team with the best overall record and playoffs only occurred in the rare instances in which teams finished the regular season in a tie.
For me, personally, the most memorable part of the entire clip is Giants announcer Russ Hodges screaming “The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!”
Few moments can match the pure adulation and joy in Hodges voice, plus as a fan, you can tell he’s totally geeked-out by the whole thing…and that’s pretty freakin’ cool.