On Oct. 10, 1951, the New York Giants’ Bobby Thomson, left, and the Brooklyn Dodgers’ Ralph Branca meet before the World Series at Yankee Stadium in New York. Thomson’s homer in the ninth inning seven days earlier off Branca put the Giants into the World Series against the Yankees. Thomson died Monday. He was 86.
“Bobby fulfilled his dream, more so because he wound up being a hero, forever and ever. Amen. And baseball thrives I hope — on heroes. Not on goats. On heroes. So I think it’s a moment to look back on with great joy for Bobby, and tremendous respect and admiration for Ralph Branca. … When I think of Bobby Thomson, I think of Ralph Branca. You see, the two names are like the two sides of a coin. One cannot exist without the other.”
— Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully, who was in the booth working for the Dodgers when Thomson homered, but was not on the air that day
“I was sitting at home watching it on television, giving a play-by-play on the phone to my sister, who was at work. I screamed when Bobby hit the home run, and we got cut off — which really aggravated me because she worked for the telephone company. So that shouldn’t have been the case. It was exciting for me that day because, living in Brooklyn and being a Giants fan, I was able to go out there and brag about it.”
— Dodgers manager Joe Torre, who was 11 years old when Thomson’s home run broke hearts all over Brooklyn.
“Bobby was a great ballplayer. And I think if anybody had a chance to enjoy the fame that he enjoyed, I’m glad it was Bobby Thomson.”
— Dodgers pitcher Don Newcombe, who started for Brooklyn on the day Thomson hit his famous home run
“If Thomson was going to hit that home run, you could have brought Cy Young in and he would have hit it. Nobody expected Thomson to hit that shattering home run.”
— Former Brooklyn pitcher Carl Erskine, who was warming in the bullpen when Branca was summoned
“I never thought it was going to be that big. Hell, no. When we went into the next season, I thought it’d be forgotten.”
“It lasted forever because it happened in New York. I’ve often thought, in retrospect, there are a lot of home runs that were just as important, like Ozzie Smith’s home run against the Dodgers in St. Louis, or Jack Clark’s home run here, or Gabby Hartnett’s homer for the Cubs in Pittsburgh, which they called the ‘Homer in the Gloaming.’ But they did not occur in New York. But because this one was in New York, it was pumped up year after year. And they’ve been fanning the embers since 1951.”
“Bobby Thomson will always hold a special place in our game for hitting one of the signature home runs in baseball history. ‘The Shot Heard ‘Round the World’ will always remain a defining moment for our game, illustrating the timeless quality of the national pastime.
“Bobby’s baseball career was highlighted by that long drive at the Polo Grounds on Oct. 3, 1951, but ‘The Flying Scot’ was an accomplished, three-time All-Star in a 15-year major league career. A true gentleman, Bobby was a perfect choice to have earned one of the game’s most memorable moments.”
— Baseball commissioner Bud Selig
“Bobby and I saw each other in later years at car shows and baseball reunions, a real gentleman and as much as I hated the Giants, or we did, we had great respect for each other, I think. We look at those orange and black uniforms, there was professional hatred going on then, but in real life there was great respect for people on the Giants and I think it was the same way.”
“While Bobby was so well known throughout the world as the man who hit the most famous home run in baseball history, he was also a true gentleman who showed the respect for the game and carried himself with dignity that is so important to baseball.”
— San Francisco Giants managing general partner Bill Neukom.