The rivalry between the Dodgers and the Giants culminated in 1951 in the single most dramatic moment in baseball history. The original “shot heard ’round the world” in 1775 set in motion the American Revolution and the unwinding of a colonial heritage. The 1951 version, the “shot” by the Giants’ Bobby Thomson -- seen at least round the country courtesy of new national TV coverage -- was a walk-off home run in the National League finale that reversed the course of the final game of the season and the season itself.
It was one of the greatest comebacks ever. In mid-August, the Giants were 13 and a half games behind the front-running Dodgers. Then they won 37 and lost only seven, tying for the pennant. The race came down to the final inning of the final game of a best-of-three playoff, with Brooklyn ahead 4-1. But when the Giants scored one run and had the tying runs on base in the bottom of the ninth, Dodgers’ manager Chuck Dressen brought in Ralph Branca to face the Giants’ Bobby Thomson. Thomson smashed Branca’s second pitch over the short wall in left field. The Giants had won the pennant.