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"The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! They're going crazy! I don't believe it! I do not believe it!" –Giants radio broadcaster Russ Hodges

Prior to the 1951 season, it was expected that Brooklyn, New York, and Philadelphia would be contenders for the National League pennant. By mid-season, however, it wasn’t much of a race. The Dodgers had built a 14.5-game lead over the defending NL champion Phillies. Things weren’t going any better for the Giants. After winning their first game of the season, they dropped 11 straight and found themselves 13.5 games behind their crosstown rivals on August 12. The deficit seemed insurmountable. Or was it?

Luckily, Giants manager Leo Durocher was a fiery leader with a masterful ability to motivate his boys beyond even their wildest expectations. Suddenly, the Giants began to win…and win…and win some more. They won an astounding 37 of their final 44 games, even pulling ahead of Dem Bums going into Brooklyn's last game of the season. A tense extra-inning victory over the Phils in their regular season finale allowed the Dodgers to tie the Giants with an identical 96-58 record and force a playoff. As if the season hadn't been strange and stressful enough, now the two teams would have to play a best-of-three series to determine who would face the Yankees in the World Series.

On October 3, 1951, after splitting the first two games, the Dodgers took a 4-1 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning of the third and deciding game at the Polo Grounds. It appeared the Giants' valiant effort to climb out of their early season hole was going to fall a few runs short. But with two men on and one out, Whitey Lockman doubled to drive in a run, bringing the score to 4-2 and putting runners on second and third. A glimmer of hope remained, and the stage was set for one of the most iconic moments in sports history. With Giants' slugger Bobby Thomson coming to the plate, Dodgers' manager Charlie Dressen went to the bullpen. His choice was Ralph Branca despite the fact that Branca had already lost to the Giants five times that season and had given up a home run to Thomson just two games earlier.

The home crowd cheered with nervous energy as Branca got one strike on Thomson. On his next pitch, he threw another fastball that Thomson timed perfectly, lining a deep drive just over the left field wall. Pandemonium ensued. Thomson rounded the bases in a euphoric state as his clutch three-run homer had given the Giants a 5-4 victory and the NL pennant. When Thomson's blast – known forever after as "The Shot Heard 'Round the World" – cleared the fence, Guss Hodges let his true feelings be known on the airwaves. "The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!" he shouted to the four corners of the Earth. "They're going crazy! I don't believe it! I do not believe it!"

Having sold Bobby Thomson's “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” game-used cap for $137,866 in our 2021 Spring Premier Auction, we are proud to present Thomson’s game-used cleats from his famous home run that clinched the 1951 National League pennant for New York. The black shoes have MacGregor/Goldsmith manufacturer's tagging (properly dating to the 1946-52 period) under the right shoe's tongue. “8EE” is punched into each outer tongue (although their actual shoe size is closer to 11, so this may be a code for something else). The underside of each cleat is notated "Bob Thomson Oct 3, 1951" in period ink presumably by the Giants’ equipment manager. 

The cleats show noticeable wear with caked dirt still stuck in the sharp metal spikes. They have been carefully preserved within the family of Horace Stoneham who owned the Giants franchise from 1936 through 1976. Mr. Stoneham apparently kept the Thomson cleats in a cabinet in his private office for decades. A period identification tag accompanying the cleats reads “Baseball shoes worn by Bobby Thomson when he hit the home run that beat the Dodgers in the play-off game - October 3, 1951” in typed print followed by "Giants vs. Bklyn" in vintage ink.

The historical significance of these cleats is undeniable, as the man who stood in them hit arguably the most famous home run in baseball history. Has anything happened more dramatic and polarizing than Thomson’s iconic game-winning shot off Branca that enabled the Giants to edge their longtime archrivals? It completed one of the most incredible comebacks ever for a pennant winner, and in doing so twisted the proverbial knife in the heart of Dodgers fans forever. Over 70 years later “The Shot Heard ‘Round the World” still resonates as perhaps the most thrilling moment in sports history, period. Includes letter of provenance from the Stoneham family.

Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $25,000
Final prices include buyers premium.: $97,999
Number Bids:6
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