Bobby Thomson: The Man Heard ‘Round The World

While in our booth this afternoon at the New York Gift Show, I received a text message from my buddy Rich Ackerman that Bobby Thomson had passed away.

I will forever remember where I was when I received the news. Just as millions of people can tell you exactly where they were on October 3, 1951, when Bobby hit the most famous home run in baseball history: “The Shot Heard ‘Round The World.”

My Dad, still a bachelor, was in the Polo Grounds that very day.  Exactly forty years later, I had the opportunity to work with Bobby (and Ralph Branca), as their marketing agent for the 40th Anniversary celebration.  Talk about things coming full circle.  Talk about fate.

I will be forever grateful to Bobby (and Ralph) for giving me the opportunity to work with them on marketing their 40th Anniversary celebration.  They gave me a chance.  They gave me a shot.

I will always remember Bobby as a true gentleman.  A very kind man.  Simply, a mensch.

There are two stories I’d like to relate.  The first is about Bobby.  The second is about me.

Bobby’s beloved wife, Elaine, passed away in 1993.  He moved from New Jersey to Savannah about four years ago as his health started to fail, to be closer to his daughter.  He missed his wife terribly.  Bobby was never quite the same after 1993.  Above all, that’s what I’ll always remember about Bobby.

As far as the story about me… I’m planning to have an event at my shop, the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse, sometime this fall, featuring a book written by Dan Fost, “Giants Past & Present.”  I hadn’t spoken to Bobby in quite some time, but was going to give him a call and see if he happened to be planning to come to this area anytime soon.  I would have loved to have him at the Clubhouse, discussing Dan’s book.

I was looking forward to driving out to pick up Bobby somewhere in New Jersey, bring him to the Clubhouse, then take him home.  I figured the odds were slim that he would be able to make it, but it would have really been an excuse just to catch up and say hello.

I never made the call.  I never had the chance to say goodbye.

So, goodbye, my dear, old friend.  Your home run really was “The Shot Heard ‘Round The World.”  But it was you that meant the world to me.

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