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A Moment in Time: An American Story of Baseball, Heartbreak, and Graceby Ralph Branca
Synopses & Reviews
Ralph Branca is best known for throwing the pitch that resulted in Bobby Thomsons “Shot Heard ‘Round the World,” the historic homerun that capped an incredible comeback and won the pennant for the Giants in 1951. And so Branca was on the losing end of what many consider to be baseballs most thrilling moment, but that notoriety belies a profoundly successful life and career. A Moment in Time is the remarkable story of a man who could have been destroyed by a supreme professional embarrassment—but wasnt.
Branca came up as a young phenom, playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers during their heyday. He was a staple of the Dodgers teams in the late 40s, dominating the National League. New York City itself was immersed in post-war optimism, and the three teams produced passionate rivalries. Its no stretch to say that New York baseball was the center of the sporting universe. In those days, the players were part of the fabric of the neighborhoods, of the city itself. Its a world populated by legendary characters like Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, Gil Hodges, Leo Durocher, Branch Rickey, and Walter OMalley. This is the world that Brancas memoir evokes.
The infamous homerun is, of course, still deeply ingrained in that story. Seven years ago, Joshua Prager reported in the Wall Street Journal that the Giants had cheated, illegally stolen signs, and that Bobby Thomson knew a fastball was coming on that fateful pitch. Pragers story made international headlines and produced a bestselling book, but it wasnt news to Ralph Branca, who found out from a teammate in 1954. Over the years, Branca has always declined to comment on the scandal, out of respect for his friendship with Thomson. He is finally ready to tell his story, which is as entertaining and inspiring as any classic baseball tale.
From the great Brooklyn Dodger pitcher Ralph Branca who gave up Bobby Thomson’s “Shot Heard ’Round the World,” comes an inspiring memoir that captures the golden era of baseball and offers a lesson in grace, character, and perseverance.
About the Author
RALPH BRANCA was born in 1926 in Mount Vernon, New York. He was 18 years old when he signed his professional contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1947, Branca won 21 games and lost 12 with an ERA of 2.67. He appeared in three All-Star games, and was the starting pitcher in the 1947 All-Star Game at the age of 21. Branca made two post-season appearances in the 1947 and 1949 World Series. He played professional baseball for twelve seasons, from 1944 to 1956, during which he won 88 games and lost 68, with a career ERA of 3.79 in 1,484 innings pitched. Branca, still active as a Chartered Life Underwriter, is a successful businessman living in Rye, New York, with his wife Ann.
TRABER BURNS is a native of Louisiana, who began his acting career as a graduate of the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. He spent 30 years working in regional theatre, including the New York, Oregon, Alabama and Dallas Shakespeare Festivals. After 5 years of acting in Los Angeles, he now lives in Oregon where he spends most of his time transporting his son to various activities.
DAVID RITZ has coauthored books with Don Rickles, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, and Natalie Cole, among many others. He has a won a Grammy, an ASCAP Deems Taylor Award, and the Ralph J. Gleason Book of the Year Award four times.
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