Feature by ASF Sports Reporter Cameron Steer:
The Shot Heard Around the World:
When discussing the greatest moments in the history of America’s beloved sport Baseball, some popular American sporting icons may come up, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Jackie Robinson or Joe Dimaggio for instance. What you may not expect to hear about is a guy from Glasgow who sent the baseball world into a frenzy at the time for his three run home run which won the pennant for the giants in 1951. The shot that resulted in this historical play was dubbed “the shot heard around the world”.
The Scottish born baseball star responsible for this historical moment was Bobby Thomson. Bobby was born in Townhead, in Glasgow and had six siblings who all emigrated to America with him when he was two years old, in 1925. Bobby grew up on Staten Island next to New York City and as soon as he graduated highschool, he signed a professional baseball contract for the NY Giants in 1942 but almost immediately took a hiatus for military service before being discharged in 1945, thereby returning to play semi-pro baseball. Bobby had an incredibly successful career here in America, with eight 20 home run seasons and even three all star team selections. However it was his “shot heard around the world” which overshadowed these fantastic achievements and immortalized the Scot in baseball folklore.
The series in which the shot occurred was the 1951 playoff game for the pennant to play in the world series. The Giants faced the Dodgers in a must win final game of the series, and with defeat looming, with the Giants being 4-1 down, Thomsons walk-off home run transformed despair into joy, with the Giants going on to win 5-4 and advance to the world series.
The shot was heard all around the world because at this time, sports media coverage was beginning to bloom and so many people tuned in to hear who would advance out of the Giants and Dodgers. The commentators scream and joy “the Giants win the pennant, the Giants win the pennant!” was broadcast all over, and Thomson, for his incredible game winning play was transformed into a sporting hero.Thomson bounced around baseball teams all throughoutAmerica in an illustrious career which eventually came to an end in 1963 where he played his final season of baseball, all the way in Japan for a team suitably named the Yomiuri Giants.
Though baseball isn’t too common a sport back in Scotland, it is very apparent that Bobby Thomson’s influence has been felt, leaving a fantastic legacy in a more unorthodox sport for the Scottish people, as a testament to this in 2003, scottish baseball team, the Edinburgh Diamond Devils welcomed Bobby to Edinburgh where he opened their new home, “Bobby Thomson Field”.
Bobby Thomson passed away in 2010 aged 86, as a pioneer for Scottish sport, his legacy however lives on, as does his legend in the history of baseball.