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Baseball's best call: 'The Giants win the pennant!'

Bobby Thomson, Larry Jansen and Sal Maglie celebrate

Bobby Thomson, Larry Jansen and Sal Maglie celebrate the New York Giants' win over the Brooklyn Dodgers on Oct. 3, 1951. Credit: AP

Baseball on the radio was 30 years old when it had what was then and remains today its most memorable moment — Russ Hodges’ exuberant account of the Giants winning the 1951 National League pennant over the Dodgers on Bobby Thomson’s three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning, deemed ''The Shot Heard 'Round the World.''

Hodges’ call on WMCA radio that afternoon has stood for 70 years as perhaps sports broadcasting’s best illustration of play-by-play excitement, but it almost was lost in the New York ether. The only reason generations of fans have been able to enjoy it is that a Giants fan in Brooklyn, Lawrence Goldberg, asked his mother to record the ninth inning before he left for work.

The next day, Goldberg shared it with Hodges, and eventually with the world. It has played over newsreel video of the home run for decades since, and presumably will for decades to come.

The text of Hodges' call:

It’s Oct. 3, 1951, and the voice of the New York Giants, Russ Hodges, is behind the microphone for WMCA radio at the Polo Grounds as the Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers battle in Game 3 of the National League playoffs:

Hodges: "So don’t go away. Light up that Chesterfield. Stay with us and we’ll see how Ralph Branca will fare against Bobby Thomson.

"Bobby Thomson up there swinging. He’s had two-out-of-three, a single and a double, and Billy Cox is playing him right on the third-base line . . .

"One out, last of the ninth, Branca pitches, Bobby Thomson takes a strike called on the inside corner . . .

Bobby hitting at .292. He’s had a single and a double and he drove in the Giants’ first run with a long fly to center . . .

"Brooklyn leads it, 4-2 . . .

"Hartung down the line at third, not taking any chances. Lockman without too big of a lead at second, but he’ll be running like the wind if Thomson hits one . . .

"Branca throws . . .

"There’s a long drive . . .

"It’s gonna be . . . I believe . . .

"The Giants win the pennant! . . . The Giants win the pennant! . . . The Giants win the pennant! . . . The Giants win the pennant! . . . Bobby Thomson hits it into the lower deck of the leftfield stands! The Giants win the pennant and they’re going crazy! . . . they’re going crazy!

"Ohhhhh ohhhhh . . .

"I don’t believe it! . . . I don’t believe it! . . . I do not believe it!"

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