Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Ralph Branca, 1926-2016

Today baseball fans all across the world are remembering the life of former big league pitcher Ralph Branca, who passed away this morning at the age of 90.

Ralph Theodore Joseph Branca was born in Mount Vernon, New York on January 6, 1926, graduated from Davis High School.

Branca was signed as an amateur free agent by the old Brooklyn Dodgers in 1943, and made his big league debut with the Dodgers, at the age of just 18, on June 12, 1944.

Branca was a solid, dependable big league hurler for 11 years with Brooklyn, the Detroit Tigers, and New York Yankees. 

A three time National League All-Star, Branca was 88-68, 3.79 era in 322 career games.

Branca was on the Dodgers on April 15, 1947, when Jackie Robinson made his big league debut, breaking the color barrier in baseball.

Branca was a staunch defender of Robinson and his right to play big league baseball.

Branca is mostly remembered in baseball history for giving up The Shot Heard 'Round the World, the home run he gave up to New York Giants 3rd Baseman  Bobby Thompson in Game 3 of the N. L. playoff in 1951.

The home run in the bottom of the ninth inning gave the Giants the Pennant, and made Thompson a national hero.

Branca and Thompson became lifetime friends, and would often join each other at card shows to sigh that iconic picture of the 1951 game.

We send out prayers and thoughts to the Branca family and the Dodgers organization on their loss today.

May God Bless Ralph Branca.

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