Filed Under:

The 'Shot Heard 'Round The World' Echoes Once More

The Boston Red Sox and the Atlanta Braves failed to make baseball's playoffs this week, succumbing to late-season collapses. To some, the swoons brought echoes of 60 years ago, when the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants were vying for the postseason.

As that season ended, the Dodgers lost their hold on first place, forcing them to play their crosstown rivals in a three-game series that would send the winner to the World Series.

As Brooklyn Dodgers fan Harvey Sherman, 75, recalls, "In 1951, we blew a 13 1/2-game lead, and we had the playoff against the Giants. I think a guy by the name of Thomson hit a home run off a guy by the name of Branca. Still hurts to talk about it."

But people do talk about it, because the Dodgers lost in spectacular fashion, losing the decisive third game after pitcher Ralph Branca yielded a ninth-inning home run to Bobby Thomson — the hit that quickly became known as The Shot Heard 'Round the World.

Like just about everyone else who lived in Brooklyn at the time, Sherman remembers every detail about that day. At StoryCorps, he describes the scene for his friend Alex Reisner, 31.

"Many of our fathers were Giant fans," Sherman says. "But all of the sons and daughters were Dodger fans, because Ebbets Field was a neighborhood place."

The one-game playoff, like most other baseball games of that era, was played around midday.

"So in 1951, when Thomson hit the home run, my pals and I were in school," Sherman says. "The teacher, Mrs. McPherson, lovely old Irish lady, stopped teaching."

Sherman says their teacher told the class, "Put your radios on. Let's listen to the Dodger game."

As teachers and students tuned in, the entire high school seemed to be listening to the game, Sherman recalls.

"Well, my friend Bobby had his maroon portable radio on," he says. "And again, we didn't have a lot of money in those days. But when Thomson hit the home run, class was dismissed. Bobby took his radio — and he threw it down the staircase."

The sting of that loss hasn't gone away for Sherman and other longtime fans.

"How can you forget it? Sort of like Pearl Harbor, and stuff like that," he says. "We remember it very, very well."

Audio produced for Morning Edition by Jasmyn Belcher and Michael Garofalo.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

A Glimpse Of Listeners' #NPRpoetry — From The Punny To The Profound

It was a simple idea: Would you, our listeners, tweet us poems for National Poetry Month? Your response contained multitudes — haiku, lyrics, even one 8-year-old's ode to her dad's bald spot.
WAMU 88.5

Eating Insects: The Argument For Adding Bugs To Our Diet

Some say eating insects could save the planet, as we face the potential for global food and protein shortages. It's a common practice in many parts of the world, but what would it take to make bugs more appetizing to the masses here in the U.S.? Does it even make sense to try? A look at the arguments for and against the practice known as entomophagy, and the cultural and environmental issues involved.

WAMU 88.5

A Federal Official Shakes Up Metro's Board

After another smoke incident and ongoing single tracking delays for fixes, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx announced a shake-up of Metro's board.

NPR

'The Guardian' Launches New Series Examining Online Abuse

A video was released this week where female sports journalists were read abusive online comments to their face. It's an issue that reaches far beyond that group, and The Guardian is taking it on in a series called "The Web We Want." NPR's Audie Cornish speaks with series editor Becky Gardiner and writer Nesrine Malik, who receives a lot of online abuse.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.