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The Echoing Green: The Untold Story of Bobby Thomson, Ralph Branca, and the Shot Heard Round the World | [Joshua Prager]

The Echoing Green: The Untold Story of Bobby Thomson, Ralph Branca, and the Shot Heard Round the World

The 1951 regular season was as good as over. The Brooklyn Dodgers led the New York Giants by three runs with just three outs to go in their third and final playoff game. And not once in Major League Baseball's 278 preceding playoff and World Series games had a team overcome a three-run deficit in the ninth inning. But New York rallied, and at 3:58 p.m. on October 3, 1951, Bobby Thomson hit a home run off Ralph Branca. The Giants won the pennant.
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Publisher's Summary

The 1951 regular season was as good as over. The Brooklyn Dodgers led the New York Giants by three runs, with just three outs to go in their third and final playoff game. And not once in Major League Baseball's 278 preceding playoff and World Series games had a team overcome a three-run deficit in the ninth inning. But New York rallied, and at 3:58 p.m. on October 3, 1951, Bobby Thomson hit a home run off Ralph Branca. The Giants won the pennant.

The Echoing Green follows the reverberations of that one moment, the "Shot Heard Round the World", from the West Wing of the White House to the Sing Sing death house to the Polo Grounds clubhouse, where a home run forever turned hitter and pitcher into hero and goat.

It was also in that centerfield block of concrete that, after the home run, a Giant coach tucked away a Wollensak telescope. The spyglass would remain undiscovered until 2001, when, on the jubilee of that home run, Joshua Prager laid bare on the front page of the Wall Street Journal a Giant secret: from July 20, 1951, through the very day of that legendary game, the orange and black stole the finger signals of opposing catchers.

The Echoing Green places that revelation at the heart of a larger story, re-creating in extravagant detail the 1951 pennant race and illuminating as never before the impact of both a moment and a long-guarded secret on the lives of Bobby Thomson and Ralph Branca.

A wonderfully evocative portrait of the great American pastime, The Echoing Green is baseball history, social history, and biography, and an irresistible listen from any angle.

©2006 Joshua Prager. All rights reserved; (P)2006 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

What the Critics Say

"Absorbing....A revelation." (Sports Illustrated)
"A masterful blend of journalism, sports history, social history, and even literature: one of the best baseball books to appear in a long time." (Kirkus Reviews)
"[Prager] paints a marvelous portrait of New York City baseball, in the tradition of The Boys of Summer and Summer of '49, bringing to life once again a genuine piece of Americana." (Publishers Weekly)

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