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Ralph Branca

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Win–loss record  88–68
Role  Baseball player
Parents  John Branca, Kati Branca
Name  Ralph Branca
Children  Mary Branca

Strikeouts  829
Movies  Parental Guidance
Earned run average  3.79
Spouse  Ann Mulvey (m. 1951)
Siblings  John Branca Sr.
Ralph Branca httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu

Similar People  Bobby Thomson, Pee Wee Reese, Russ Hodges, Eddie Stanky, Dixie Walker

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Ralph Theodore Joseph Branca (January 6, 1926 – November 23, 2016) was an American professional baseball pitcher who played 12 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB), from 1944 through 1956. Branca played for the Brooklyn Dodgers (1944–1953, 1956), Detroit Tigers (1953–1954), and New York Yankees (1954). He was a three-time All-Star. In a 1951 playoff, Branca allowed a walk-off home run to Bobby Thomson, known as the "Shot Heard 'Round the World".


Ralph Branca Brooklyn Dodgers Then and Now Ralph Branca Dodger Blue

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Early life

Ralph Branca Ralph Branca happy to have Bobby Valentine around The Boston Globe

Ralph Branca was born in Mount Vernon, New York, as the fifteenth of seventeen children. His father was John Branca, a trolley car conductor from Italy. His mother, Kati (née Berger), who was Jewish, immigrated to the United States in 1901 from Sandorf, Hungary (now Prievaly, Slovakia). His uncle Jozsef Berger was killed at the Majdanek concentration camp, and his maternal aunt Irma died at the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1942. Ralph was raised Roman Catholic.

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Branca graduated from A. B. Davis High School, and attended New York University (NYU) for one year. He played college baseball and college basketball for the NYU Violets.


Ralph Branca Ralph Branca Dodgers great who gave up The Shot Heard Round the

After Branca attended a tryout with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1943, the team signed him to a contract. He debuted in the major leagues on June 12, 1944, and put up a 3.04 earned run average (ERA) in 10923 innings pitched in his rookie year.

Ralph Branca Lindsay Berra Ralph Branca doesnt let one pitch define career

On Opening Day in 1947, which was also Jackie Robinson's major league debut, Branca lined up on the field beside Robinson, while other players refused. That year, he had a 21–12 win–loss record and a 2.67 earned run average (ERA) in 280 innings pitched. He earned his first All-Star appearance, and helped the Dodgers win the National League pennant. He was second in the league in wins, innings pitched, and strikeouts (148), third in ERA, and sixth in won-lost percentage (.636).

Ralph Branca Ralph Branca AllStar Pitcher Who Gave Up Shot Heard Round The

A three-time All-Star, Branca won 80 games for the Dodgers with a career-high 21 wins in 1947. In 1948, he was ninth in the league in wins (14) and won–lost percentage (.609). In 1949, he led the National League (NL) in won-lost percentage (.722). In 1951, he was tenth in the NL in ERA (3.26).

In the final game of the best-of-three 1951 National League tie-breaker series at the Polo Grounds against the crosstown rival New York Giants, Branca entered the game in relief of Don Newcombe in the bottom of the ninth inning with one out and Whitey Lockman on second base and pinch runner Clint Hartung on third base and surrendered a walk-off home run, which became known as the "Shot Heard 'Round the World" to Bobby Thomson, giving the Giants the pennant. Prior to facing Thomson, Branca had been warming up in the bullpen with Carl Erskine. Dodgers coach Clyde Sukeforth noticed that Erskine was bouncing several curveballs in the dirt and instructed manager Charlie Dressen to call on Branca—this despite Thomson having homered off Branca in Game 1.

A back injury suffered during spring training in 1952 limited Branca's effectiveness thereafter. Branca appeared in only 12 games for the Dodgers during the 1952 season. In the eighth inning of Game 7 of the 1952 World Series against the New York Yankees, Branca was ejected from the dugout by home plate umpire Larry Goetz for bench jockeying. Branca was only the second player in MLB history to be ejected from a World Series, and the first who was not actually in the game at the time. He did not make an appearance in the series.

Branca began the 1953 season with Brooklyn, but was claimed off waivers by the Detroit Tigers on July 10, 1953. The Tigers released Branca in July 1954. After he pitched batting practice for the Yankees, the Yankees signed him and pitched him in five games later in the season. Branca pitched for the Minneapolis Millers in 1955, but was released due to ineffectiveness caused by an arm injury.

In 1956, Branca appeared at Old Timer's Day for the Yankees, believing his career was over. His pitching velocity returned, and he signed with the Dodgers for the last month of the season, making one appearance.

In a 12-year career, Branca posted an 88–68 record with 829 strikeouts and a 3.79 ERA in 1,484 innings pitched.

Later life

Branca became friends with Thomson, a bond that lasted into each man's old age, including joint television and trade show appearances. Branca later learned from Detroit Tiger Ted Gray that the Giants had stolen the signs to the two pitches he threw Thomson. That rumor was confirmed in The Wall Street Journal in 2001, when Giant Sal Yvars admitted that he relayed to Thomson the stolen signs for Branca's fastballs. Joshua Prager detailed the revelations in a book entitled The Echoing Green: The Untold Story of Bobby Thomson, Ralph Branca and The Shot Heard Round the World. Thomson acknowledged to Prager that the Giants had stolen signs in 1951 but denied that he had foreknowledge of the pitch he hit off Branca for the pennant-winning home run. According to Branca, Thomson admitted to accepting the stolen signs during his first three at-bats of that game, but claimed that he did not do so in the final at-bat; Branca indicated that he did not believe Thomson's denials and remained convinced that Thomson was in fact tipped off on the fateful pitch.

Branca ran the Baseball Assistance Team for seventeen years.

Branca was a long time member of Westchester Country Club. He was born and raised in Mt. Vernon, New York where he was a member of the Westchester County Hall of Fame for about forty years. He was inducted into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame.

Branca was a pallbearer at Jackie Robinson's funeral in October 1972.

Branca was a contestant on Concentration starting in 1963, where he won 17 consecutive games. He appeared in Concentration's 1963 Challenge of Champions.

In the 2012 movie, Parental Guidance, Branca made a cameo appearance as a judge during a scene involving an audition for a music school. During the scene Billy Crystal's grandson takes to the stage and recites the radio broadcast of, "The Shot Heard Round the World." Branca was portrayed by Hamish Linklater in the 2013 film 42, a biographical sports drama about Robinson's career. Branca was the subject of the 2013 documentary "Branca's Pitch," produced by Andrew J. Muscato.

Branca married Ann Mulvey, whose parents were part-owners of the Dodgers, in 1951, shortly after giving up the famous home run. Their daughter, Mary, married baseball player Bobby Valentine. Their other daughter Patti lives in Fort Myers, Florida. Branca released a memoir in 2011, titled A Moment in Time.

On the morning of November 23, 2016, Branca died in a nursing home in Rye Brook, New York, at the age of 90. He was the last living member of the 1947 Dodgers baseball team. Branca was interred at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in suburban Westchester County.


Ralph Branca Wikipedia