October 23, 2012

The Giants Win The Pennant! The Giants Win The Pennant!

The San Francisco Giants celebrate winning the national league pennant october 22, 2012

The 2012 Giants Victory Brings To Mind The 1951 New York Giants Win Over The Dodgers

By Roy Steele

The Brooklyn Dodgers won the National League pennant in 1949, and faced the New York Yankees in the World Series. The Yankees stole the show by defeating their ‘subway series’ opponents and winning 4 out of 5 games. The Yankees would go on to win 5 consecutive World Series, and 14 American League pennants, over the following 16 years.

In the Autumn of 1950, the Brooklyn Dodgers were in a battle with the Philadelphia Phillies, for supremacy in Major League Baseball's National League. Whoever finished on top would win the pennant, and represent the league in baseball’s biggest contest. In the last game of that 1950 season, the Dodgers played the Phillies. With the game tied in the 9th inning, Dodger hopes were still alive. The Phillies scored a run in the 10th inning, dashing those Dodger hopes, and punching their ticket to the championship game.

In August of 1951, the Dodgers were leading the 2nd place New York Giants by over 13 games. Dodger skipper Chuck Dressen was confident that the Dodgers were on cruise control, that it was going to be their year, and they could inflict revenge on those damn Yankees.  After some Dodger missteps, and a Giants winning streak, the gap had narrowed in the standings - between these two crosstown rivals. By the time the Dodgers and Giants met in the final game of the season, both teams were tied for first place.


Giants starter Matt Cain beats the Cardinals october 22, 2012

October 1951: In the final game of the season, that would determine the National League winner, the Giants were playing the Dodgers on their Brooklyn home turf, at the fabled Polo Grounds. The home team was down 3-1 in the bottom of the 8th inning. In the bottom of the ninth, Alvin Dark scored and Don Mueller advanced to third base, when Whitey Lockman doubled to left field, narrowing the score to 3-2.

With two runners in scoring position, Giants slugger Bobby Thomson was next in the batting order, with young Willie Mays on deck. Ralph Branca, a starting pitcher for the Dodgers, was enlisted to pitch the ninth inning, to preserve the win.

The first pitch to Thomson was a fastball down the middle, and a called strike. The second pitch was a fastball high and inside, and Thomson swung the bat. The outfielder made contact with the fastball, and it headed like a sinking line drive toward the left field fence. Dodger left fielder Andy Pafko thought that the ball would hit the wall and bounce back, and in anticipation, he turned around to face the wall and make the play. Pafko helplessly watched Thomson’s line drive clear the wall, and the 3 runs that scored were enough to snatch a huge win from the Dodgers.

Giants catcher buster posey scores a run october 22, 2012


Thomson’s walk-off homerun has been called the "shot heard 'round the world" ever since that improbable victory over the Dodgers. With the win, the 1951 National League Champion New York Giants were headed for the World Series, to face the vaunted Bronx bombers themselves, those New York Yankees.

Admittedly, I wasn’t a glimmer in anyone’s eye in 1951, so I never saw this famous contest. It’s only because of my father’s love for the game of baseball, that I know the story so well. My father was barely in Junior High in 1951. It was his Dad who would take him to the Polo Grounds to see the New York Giants play.

Aside from hearing my Dad describe that game, I would occasionally hear different people talk about the unbelievable comeback that the Giants made that season. The climactic finish to every recounting was provided by Bobby Thomson’s game winning homerun. If you see a baseball documentary or news story that mentions this game, you usually hear the radio voice of Russ Hodges, calling the play-by-play action that accompanies the tape. 

There's a long drive...it's gonna be, I believe...THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT!! THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT! THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT! THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT! Bobby Thomson hits into the lower deck of the left-field stands! The Giants win the pennant and they're goin' crazy, they're goin' crazy! HEEEY-OH!!!''

B officials review the weather conditions in San Francisco october 22, 2012
Rain Rain go away! Baseball officials review the weather conditions prior to last night's championship game.
 

Last night the San Francisco Giants sent the reigning World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals packing, when they kicked ass with a 9-0 victory. The win sends the Giants to the 2012 World Series, where they will face the Detroit Tigers, beginning this Wednesday night.

The Giants were down three games to one when they limped back to San Francisco from St. Louis. These comeback kids dominated the Cards over the next three games, and after playing in 6 elimination games during these playoffs, they defied the odds and won every one of them.

Yesterday was a cold and blustery day, and it rained off and on, for the entire day. The faithful Giants fans packed our waterfront stadium, and endured the rain and chilly weather, to support our hometown team. When the Giants sealed their victory, our city went wild celebrating our giant win. And the first imagery that entered my mind was the “shot heard 'round the world" with the voice of Russ Hodges gleefully shouting “THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT!! THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT! THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT! THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT! “

Just like the 1951 Giants, our present day Giants, overcame huge odds to win.

I can still hear Russ Hodges voice in my mind.

The Giants win the pennant, and they’re goin’ crazy, they’re goin’ crazy,” yes indeed!
  

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