Famed home run hitter Bobby Thomson has died at age 86.
Thomson, who hit the famous “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” home run for the New York Giants in 1951, had been in failing health for several years and died Monday night at his home. His death was confirmed Tuesday by the funeral home in Savannah, Ga., that is handling the arrangements.
Thomson’s home run capped a memorable late-season comeback by the Giants and won them the National League pennant over the Brooklyn Dodgers.
The Giants had trailed the Dodgers by 13 1/2 games in mid-August that year before finishing 37-7 to force a three-game playoff series for the pennant. The teams split the first two games, and the Dodgers held a 4-1 lead going into the ninth inning of the decisive game at the Polo Grounds before the Giants rallied to win 5-4, capped by Thomson’s three-run blast to left field off Ralph Branca.
The broadcast call from Giants announcer Russ Hodges is as iconic as the home run itself. Hodges screamed, “The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!” as Thomson circled the bases.
A three-time All-Star as an infielder and outfielder, Thomson played 15 major league seasons from 1946-1960, batting .270 with 264 home runs and 1,026 RBI for his career. He batted .293 with a career high 32 home runs in that 1951 season.