Boys of Summer Stories

Brooklyn Dodger greats Duke Snider, Carl Erskine, and Ralph Branca, all 82 now, paid homage at dinner Monday night to their late teammates from the Boys of Summer era and recounted stories of the past that had Dodgertown Fantasy Baseball campers hanging on their every word for an inside piece of baseball history.
The best story came from Erskine, who was in the bullpen warming up with Branca on that fateful day in 1951 when Branca would give up the shot heard around the world to Bobby Thompson, and cost Brooklyn the pennant.
“Walter Alston (Dodgers manager) called the bullpen coach and wanted to know who was ready to go because Don Newcombe, who had pitched a hell of a game, was tiring. He said, ‘They’re both ready but Erskine’s been bouncing his curveball in the dirt.’ Alston told him to send in Branca.
“When people ask me what’s the best pitch I ever threw, I tell’em it was that curveball in the dirt in the bullpen that day.”

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