Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Shot Heard 'Round the World

If you're a baseball fan, surely you have heard a recording of the radio broadcast of Bobby Thomson's game–winning home run in the National League playoff game between Thomson's New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers.

It happened 58 years ago today. Thomson's home run gave the Giants a 2–to–1 triumph in the playoff series nearly 20 years before the National and American Leagues began divisional play. The Dodgers appeared to be on their way to the National League title most of the season, but the Giants caught and tied them in September, forcing the playoff.

I'm a Dodgers fan. I was still many years away from being born when that happened, but the story is still painful for me.

But it is also a source of amusement for me. Whenever I hear the audio in which the announcer repeatedly exclaims, "The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!" I am reminded of one of my favorite episodes from the M*A*S*H series.

A couple of years before the show's landmark final episode, "A War for All Seasons" followed the staff through the year 1951. A number of stories were woven together, but the unifying story, I guess, was how Klinger, in his never–ending quest for an easy dollar, persuaded the well–to–do Charles to finance some bets on the streaking Dodgers.

But even Klinger was hesitant for Charles to give in to his greed to the extent Charles appeared prepared to do. "Major, we stand to win a lot of loot," Klinger cautioned. "Let us not be piggish."

"This is not piggish, Klinger, this is bullish," Charles replied. "How do you think we Winchesters amassed our huge family fortune?"

But the Giants' late–season rally took its toll on the unlikely partnership. When the Dodgers' collapse was complete and announcer Russ Hodges was celebrating the Giants' triumph in his jubilant broadcast, the camera showed Charles unconscious on the ground, apparently overwhelmed by his losses.

From what I have been told, Charles wasn't the only one who was shocked.

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