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One more thing about Bobby Thomson

Aug 18, 2010, 5:06 PM EDT

Joshua Prager wrote the book The Echoing Green, which is the definitive story of the 1951 pennant race that culminated in “The Shot Heard ‘Round the World.”  Today he has a remembrance of Bobby Thomson over at The New Republic. He reproduces a Thomson quote there that, even if you’ve seen it before, bears repeating:

“A better hitter would have let Branca’s pitch go by for a ball,” he told his hometown Staten Island Advance, disparaging in a high and hoarse voice the feat of a lifetime. “If I was a good hitter I’d have taken that one,” he assured The New York Times. “It was a pitch,” he told the Daily News, “that Musial or any other good hitter would have taken. It was high and inside. I didn’t deserve to do a thing like that.”

Sometimes a ballplayer’s humility seems forced or cliched. After reading The Echoing Green, you realize that Thomson’s wasn’t.

  1. Philip P - Aug 18, 2010 at 5:21 PM

    The coverage of Bobby Thomson has had me thinking about players who had great moments within good careers or played at a great level for several seasons but not long enough to have what one would call a hall of fame career. Thomson obviously comes to mind along with the likes of Roger Maris. Who else should be on the list?

  2. keg64 - Aug 18, 2010 at 7:10 PM

    Since we are talking about a walk-off HR in the series, the obvious would be Joe Carter. Good player, no HOFer.

  3. JBerardi - Aug 18, 2010 at 8:47 PM

    David Ortiz.

  4. Josh - Aug 19, 2010 at 7:50 AM

    I think a better team wouldn’t have had to steal signs and relay pitches to its hitters, whether they were good hitters or bad. Thompson was a good man, by all accounts, but it’s his shame nonetheless. It’s been hammered on plenty, but unlike PEDs or any other debate over “cheating” in the game, this instance just feels…dirtier somehow, perhaps because it’s intentional, long-term, organization-wide, organization-supported cheating. Sorry to get on the soapbox, but I believe this has to be talked about everytime 1951 comes up.

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