Not to be confused with the shot struck by legendary golfer Gene Sarazen at the Masters Tournament in 1935, ‘The Shot Heard ’round the World’, as far as baseball is concerned, refers to a decisive home run hit by New York Giants’ outfielder Robert ‘Bobby’ Thomson at the Polo Grounds, New York City on October 3, 1951.
The New York Giants and their arch rivals, the Brooklyn Dodgers, finished the regular Major League Baseball season in 1951 with identical win-loss records, forcing a best-of-three playoff series to determine the winner of the National League Pennant. The Giants won the first game and the Dodgers the second, so the series came down to the crucial third encounter.
The game had the distinction of being the first to be televised nationally in the United States and Thomson, popularly known as ‘The Staten Island Scot’, came to the plate in the bottom of the ninth, and final, innings with the Dodgers leading 4-2. With two runners on base, Thomson faced Dodgers relief pitcher Ralph Branca and, taking advantage of the notoriously short distance to the left-field wall, hit a long fly ball into the seats in the lower deck. His three-run homer prompted commentator Russell ‘Russ’ Hodges to make the famous call, ‘The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!’, and has since achieved legendary status.