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  • #31
    Originally posted by EdTarbusz View Post
    I listened to the 10/3/1951 game last night and found myself asking the same question again: why didn't Dressen have Thomson intentionally walked so that Newcombe or Branca could pitch to Willie Mays and set up a possible double play?

    Because you NEVER put the winning run on base with an intentional walk. N E V E R.

    I would very much like to listen to the game... is the file able to be downloaded somewhere? sent compressed via email?
    "Herman Franks to Sal Yvars to Bobby Thomson. Ralph Branca to Bobby Thomson to Helen Rita... cue Russ Hodges."

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    • #32
      Originally posted by StanTheMan View Post
      Because you NEVER put the winning run on base with an intentional walk. N E V E R.

      I would very much like to listen to the game... is the file able to be downloaded somewhere? sent compressed via email?
      Sorry but that's dogma, and dogma doesn't win you ballgames.

      Thomson was unbelievably hot in September/October 1951 - a hot streak to rival Yastrzemski's famous streak in 1967 that won the pennant for the Red Sox - and Mays was not. Mays hit 233/342/330 down the stretch while Thomson hit 440/509/840. A shot down the line won't score Thomson from first even with his speed in the Polo Grounds, and in a no doubles defense anything over your head means you might lose the game anyway (holy crap, imagine if Mays hit an inside the park grand slam to win the pennant).

      In addition to that Branca was a gopher ball artist and he would not be a good choice to face Thomson, especially because Thomson was 8/17 off Branca in the last 2 years with 2 homers, a triple and a double.

      Dressen never used any statistical analysis in his managing (could he even read it? ) and that's why he lost. But Branch Rickey did, which is why he called it the worst managerial decision in the history of baseball. Of course he might have had an axe to grind, but with his use of statistical analysis he probably knew all that pertinent stuff.

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      • #33
        There are many "dogma's" that are bs, but not putting the winning run on base is a very good one. How many times can you recall it being broken in a big game? ANY game? Dressen did indeed hate statistical analysis, Joshua Prager's excellent "The Echoing Green" details how the Dodgers did have a very good stats/trends guy who was way ahead of his time and Dressen thought him invisible.

        If you want to use Thomson's entire TWO YEAR trend, then you have to look at more than just "down the stretch" for Mays. One was hot, the other was not.... but no manager worth his salt puts the winning run on base. 1921, 1951, 2010, 2051, etc.....

        The Dodgers lost becase they blew at 13 game lead. They lost perhaps because of their crappy coin flip decision re: home games/road games. They lost becasue Bobby Thomson turned on a fastball he knew was coming. He still had to hit the ball, and he hit a hell of a line drive that cleared (miraculously) the fence and landed in the lower deck - difficult to do.


        If Dressen walked Thomson and Mays won the game, Dressen would be villified to this day.
        "Herman Franks to Sal Yvars to Bobby Thomson. Ralph Branca to Bobby Thomson to Helen Rita... cue Russ Hodges."

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        • #34
          The only baseball player in the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame.

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          • #35
            Originally posted by StanTheMan View Post
            .....The Dodgers lost becase they blew at 13 game lead. They lost perhaps because of their crappy coin flip decision re: home games/road games. They lost becasue Bobby Thomson turned on a fastball he knew was coming. He still had to hit the ball, and he hit a hell of a line drive that cleared (miraculously) the fence and landed in the lower deck - difficult to do. If Dressen walked Thomson and Mays won the game, Dressen would be villified to this day.
            Did he know what pitch was coming when he hit a homer off Branca in the game in Brooklyn? Please, with what was going on during that 9th inning, Mandrakes broken ankle, a Dodger pitching change, I doubt very much that Thomson was thinking to look for Sal tossing a ball to give the sign. Did the Giants steal signs during the year? Sure. Was it illegal? No......did Bobby get the sign in that last at bat? I doubt it....he seemed to have Branca's number. I'm so sick of this crap about them stealing signs. To this day, when runners reach second, the team on the field often changes pitch signs....it's part of the friggin game. Any attempt to try to diminish this achievement is totally disingenuous.

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            • #36
              Right on Mays24........ well said! There was never a classier or more humble player/person than Bobby Thomson and he ALWAYS denied getting that signal. I believe him. Let's face it, the Dodgers chocked in the last third of the season barely playing .500 ball. Branca chocked in throwing back to back fastballs into Thomson's wheel house and suffered the consequences. Get the hell over it Ralph and stop grasping at straws to cover your mistake!
              RCL

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              • #37
                Originally posted by StanTheMan View Post
                The Dodgers lost becase they blew at 13 game lead. They lost perhaps because of their crappy coin flip decision re: home games/road games. They lost becasue Bobby Thomson turned on a fastball he knew was coming. He still had to hit the ball, and he hit a hell of a line drive that cleared (miraculously) the fence and landed in the lower deck - difficult to do.
                The Dodgers also lost because after Dark led off with a single, either Hodges (or Dressen) decided to play close to the bag and hold Dark on first -- even though the Giants needed THREE RUNS TO TIE and Dark's run was meaningless.

                Mueller, who was known for being able to place the ball where he wanted to, later said that if Hodges had played his normal position, he (Mueller) would have gone down the middle. Instead, he directed the ball to the left of first base, just wide of Hodges' outstretched bare hand.

                If Gil had ignored Dark at first and played Mueller to pull the ball less, he might have trapped the grounder and started a double play. As it was, the ball skipped past him into right field, sending Dark to third.

                Newcombe then got Irvin to foul out to Hodges, setting the stage for Thomson.

                My guess is that it was Dressen's bonehead decisions (choosing to play the first game at home; ignoring Thomson's success against Branca and bringing him in instead of either Erskine or Labine; and deciding to have Hodges hold Dark at first) that cost the Dodgers the game and the pennant.

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by StanTheMan View Post
                  Because you NEVER put the winning run on base with an intentional walk. N E V E R.
                  I'm sure Bill Bevens and Bucky Harris would agree with you!

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    The whole sign stealing thing is such junk. There's really much more evidence that it hurt the Giants than it helped them. I haven't read all of the Echoing Green, but considering what I have read seems built around the sign-stealing I'm guessing Prager didn't actually note that because it got in the way of his narrative.

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                    • #40
                      I was a Dodgers fan living in NY back then, and I remember how huge that game and that playoff was. For all of us living in NY, Thomson's home run truly was "the shot heard 'round the world." I wonder, though, whether it meant as much outside New York. Did fans in other cities appreciate the intensity of the Dodgers/Giants rivalry? Were they caught up in the drama of the Giants' battle to overcome the Dodgers' huge mid-summer lead? Did that memorable pennant race capture their attention the way it did to NY fans?

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                      • #41
                        More evidence of Dressen's bonehead decisions:

                        Branca gave up 19 home runs that year in 204 innings, or 1 HR every 10.4 innings.
                        Against the Giants, though he gave up 11 of those HR in only 48 innings, or 1 every 4.4 innings. Furthermore, seven of those 11 were hit in the Polo Grounds in only 23 innings, or 1 every 2 innings!

                        Branca's record that year was 13-12. Through August, he was 13-5; then he went 1-5 in September and 0-2 in October. And oh yes...for the year, he was 2-6 vs. the Giants.

                        Given that performance, no manager with a pulse or a brain would have brought him in against the Giants, IN THE POLO GROUNDS, with the pennant on the line.

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          First of all, stealing the signs in the way the Giants chose to do so WAS illegal. Using the naked eye is part of baseball, part of every game, and of course not governed. Using mechanical methods (telescope and buzzer) is NOT allowed.

                          Hitting a home run on the ROAD does not in itself help or hinder hitting a home run at home when you are tipped off that a fastball is coming. The two events are exclusive. Bobby hit a couple hundred homers without knowing what pitch was coming. Who cares? It does not have anything to do with getting a sign, or using said info to hit another one. It would make it slightly easier, that's it. SLIGHTLY.

                          I love TSHRTW. The fact that the Giants were stealing signs for a large portion of the stretch run does not diminish the tremendous scope of the event for me. Not at all. There will always be a bit of a mystery, did Thomson see Yvars FOR SURE? Personally, I feel about 95% certain the sign was given from Yvars in the bullpen. I'm less certain Thomson looked for it of course.

                          Also, changing signs due to a runner on second is also irrelevant. Herman Franks had seen HUNDREDS of pitches from the Giants from his perch behind the fifth window from the left in the PG clubhouse (Durocher's office.) He KNEW what method the Dodger Catchers and more importantly the Dodger pitchers preferred to use when the runner was on second. "Second sign indicator" for example. I don't have my copy of The Echoing Green in front of me, but the conversation between Branca and his catcher is mentioned in the book, as well as the fact that the "sign change" due to the runner on second was completely expected, and not difficult to decipher.

                          Lastly the Echoing Green explores the sign stealing, pretty much nails it down no doubt about it, but the beauty of the book lies in the characters portrayed so deeply by Prager. Not just Thomson and Branca, but also Franks, the fellow (A DODGER FAN!!!) who installed the buzzer - and was lying on his deathbed with Cancer listening to the radio broadcast of the event. The impact of TSHRTW in pop culture, it's penetration into literature, entertainment, etc. One of THE best books ever written, exploring at "ocean's depth" one of baseballs most incredible moments.

                          I don't think I'm being necessarily attacked here for bringing up the sign stealing, but wanted to clarify that yes I do believe the sign was there, and you CAN, and probably WILL enjoy the book without it interfering with any love you have for TSHRTW. In fact, it will probably enhance it, such is the depth of detail Prager brings to the men invovled in the event, and how it shaped their lives for years after.

                          Heck - Franks is quoted in his home town UTAH newspaper the day AFTER the homer that "Bobby probably had the sign for fastball" or something to that effect.
                          "Herman Franks to Sal Yvars to Bobby Thomson. Ralph Branca to Bobby Thomson to Helen Rita... cue Russ Hodges."

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Originally posted by StanTheMan View Post
                            First of all, stealing the signs in the way the Giants chose to do so WAS illegal. Using the naked eye is part of baseball, part of every game, and of course not governed. Using mechanical methods (telescope and buzzer) is NOT allowed.

                            Hitting a home run on the ROAD does not in itself help or hinder hitting a home run at home when you are tipped off that a fastball is coming. The two events are exclusive. Bobby hit a couple hundred homers without knowing what pitch was coming. Who cares? It does not have anything to do with getting a sign, or using said info to hit another one. It would make it slightly easier, that's it. SLIGHTLY.

                            I love TSHRTW. The fact that the Giants were stealing signs for a large portion of the stretch run does not diminish the tremendous scope of the event for me. Not at all. There will always be a bit of a mystery, did Thomson see Yvars FOR SURE? Personally, I feel about 95% certain the sign was given from Yvars in the bullpen. I'm less certain Thomson looked for it of course.

                            Also, changing signs due to a runner on second is also irrelevant. Herman Franks had seen HUNDREDS of pitches from the Giants from his perch behind the fifth window from the left in the PG clubhouse (Durocher's office.) He KNEW what method the Dodger Catchers and more importantly the Dodger pitchers preferred to use when the runner was on second. "Second sign indicator" for example. I don't have my copy of The Echoing Green in front of me, but the conversation between Branca and his catcher is mentioned in the book, as well as the fact that the "sign change" due to the runner on second was completely expected, and not difficult to decipher.

                            Lastly the Echoing Green explores the sign stealing, pretty much nails it down no doubt about it, but the beauty of the book lies in the characters portrayed so deeply by Prager. Not just Thomson and Branca, but also Franks, the fellow (A DODGER FAN!!!) who installed the buzzer - and was lying on his deathbed with Cancer listening to the radio broadcast of the event. The impact of TSHRTW in pop culture, it's penetration into literature, entertainment, etc. One of THE best books ever written, exploring at "ocean's depth" one of baseballs most incredible moments.

                            I don't think I'm being necessarily attacked here for bringing up the sign stealing, but wanted to clarify that yes I do believe the sign was there, and you CAN, and probably WILL enjoy the book without it interfering with any love you have for TSHRTW. In fact, it will probably enhance it, such is the depth of detail Prager brings to the men invovled in the event, and how it shaped their lives for years after.

                            Heck - Franks is quoted in his home town UTAH newspaper the day AFTER the homer that "Bobby probably had the sign for fastball" or something to that effect.
                            Well, since you are SO SURE that this is what happend, I won't argue with you. As for me, I will continue to believe Mr. Thomson.....

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              I'm not here to argue, and certainly not with any certain individual.... this is a PUBLIC message board, and is all about sharing opinions, discussion, and FUN.

                              There are several facts in this case which point directly towards HUNDREDS of signs being available to the Giants during the stretch run, including the 3 game playoff. I'll simply post some of them, and would like to hear anything NEW you have to add. I understand you place alot of weight on Thomson's own assertions about getting a sign or not getting a sign that day. That's great of course.


                              Some of these are Echoing Green, some are not.

                              -The Team Photo from 1951, shows an area of the screen in front of the 5th clubhouse window that had been cut away with wire cutters. This is a window in Durocher's office. All other windows are intact, as was the screen in question earlier that year.
                              -Herman Franks was not in the dugout that day (or nearly any other day when the Giants were playing at home) during the stretch run. When asked after TSHRTW where he was, the answer was "he was in the clubhouse doing something for Durocher."
                              -Herman Franks is quoted in his hometown paper the day after TSHRTW saying "he many have gotten the sign for the fastball."
                              -The buzzer in the bullpen has been confirmed by Giants players
                              -Sal Yvars admitted to his role in signalling fastball or breaking ball. He sat on the end of the bullpen bench and would toss a ball in the air for one, or hold it for the other
                              -Franks has confirmed he (as a former catcher) was easily able to work out different catcher/pitcher combinations for signs, as well as sign changes when there was a runner on base. He watched THOUSANDS of pitches through his Wollensack Telescope that season. Patterns emerge and are easy to decipher, especially for a veteran catcher.
                              -Monte Irvin was apparently one who spoke up that he NEVER wanted to know what was coming... just his preference.
                              -A rookie who was called up mid-season (a pitcher if I recall correctly) was in the clubhouse for the first time the VERY day the scheme was hatched, the meeting was held, the sign from Yvars was worked out (ball tossed in the air, or not tossed, etc.). The exact DAY of the team meeting, and some details such as who wanted the signs, who did not, etc. is on record and confirmed by some players.


                              Bobby had said he did not get a sign, and sometimes he said he did not remember. That's fine. But the evidence that the Giants were doing this for a LONG time is overwhelming. Again, it does NOT lessen my interest in the event, as it is still one of my favorite all time sports moments. If I had a time machine and could go back to watch any sporting event live, TSHRTW would be #1 on the list. Mabye Jack Nicklaus Masters win in 1986 #2.

                              Cheers,
                              Bryan
                              "Herman Franks to Sal Yvars to Bobby Thomson. Ralph Branca to Bobby Thomson to Helen Rita... cue Russ Hodges."

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