Thomson hit what is perhaps the most famous home run in baseball history. His dramatic “shot heard ’round the world” on October 3, 1951, a three-run, ninth-inning homer off Brooklyn pitcher Ralph Branca, capped the Giants’ historic comeback to win the NL pennant. Thomson also hit a sixth-inning homer off Branca in the opening game of the playoffs, which erased a 1-0 Dodger lead.
Born in Glasgow, Scotland, the Staten Island Scot hit 24 or more homers six times in his seven full seasons with the Giants. A key to the 1951 pennant was Thomson’s switch to third base, allowing Willie Mays to take over centerfield. Following the 1953 season, Thomson was sent to the Milwaukee Braves in a trade that brought future 20-game winner Johnny Antonelli to the Giants. Thomson broke his ankle in spring training with the Braves in 1954, and that injury kept Hank Aaron from being sent to the minors. Later that year, when Thomson was in the lineup, Aaron pinch ran for him and broke his ankle.
A nice , likable guy, known as a good low-ball hitter, Thomson had a comeback season for the Cubs in 1958, when he hit 21 homers and collected 82 RBI while batting .283. In 1969, Thomson was named to the Giants’ all-time outfield along with Mel Ott and Willie Mays.