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Ralph Branca, Who Gave Up ‘Shot Heard Round the World,’ Dies at 90

His daughter Patti Barnes said he was pronounced dead shortly after midnight at a rehabilitation center near his home.

In baseball lore the Thomson homer has been preserved in amber. It sits alongside Lou Gehrig’s farewell at Yankee Stadium, Don Larsen’s perfect game in a World Series and “the Catch,” Willie Mays’s spectacular over-the-shoulder, warning-track snare of a Series blast at the same Polo Grounds, three years after Thomson’s “shot.”

It was also immortalized in American literature by Don DeLillo, who opened his 1997 novel, “Underworld,” with an extended, lyrical re-creation of that Wednesday at Coogan’s Bluff, complete with echoes of the radio announcer Russ Hodges’s disbelieving call as the ball headed for the fence and sailed over the Dodgers’ left fielder, Andy Pafko, culminating, as pandemonium erupted, with the joyous, repeated declaration, “The Giants win the pennant!”


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