The Echoing Green: The Untold Story of Bobby Thomson, Ralph Branca and the Shot Heard Round the World
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The Echoing Green: The Untold Story of Bobby Thomson, Ralph Branca and the Shot Heard Round the World

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3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  201 ratings  ·  32 reviews
The 1951 regular season was as good as over. The Brooklyn Dodgers led the New York Giants by three runs with just three outs to go in their third and final playoff game. And not once in major league baseball’s 278 preceding playoff and World Series games had a team overcome a three-run deficit in the ninth inning. But New York rallied, and at 3:58 p.m. on October 3, 1951,...more
Hardcover, 498 pages
Published September 19th 2006 by Pantheon (first published 2006)
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Spiros
Mar 02, 2009 Spiros rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who really dig the way Yoda talks
If Mr. Peabody ever shows up with his Wayback Machine, I won't need a nanosecond's thought to say where I want to go: take me to the Polo Grounds, October 3, 1951. So you would think a 350 page retelling of the narrative arcs leading up to that storied moment, an in depth account of the day itself, and an exhaustive examination of what happened after would be right up my alley, no? Well...
Kudos to Prager for his filling in of the backstories of Branca, Thomson, and Durocher's sign stealing machi...more
Mark
I tried. I really tried to finish this book. But I gave up. The minutia of detail that Prager gives (e.g., telling us that a team meeting in the locker room had the players sitting on four-legged metal stools) is relentless. I love tidbits of detail in historical accounts, but with this book, it was pure overload. I kept saying out loud, "Will you please stop it?" But that wasn't the worst part. The book is filled with sentence structure problems. I actually had my pen out and was writing correc...more
Nancy Graham
Wish I knew how to give this 3 1/2 stars ... It's a fascinating subject: perhaps the greatest moment in sports history, the pitcher and batter who faced one another in that climactic moment, peripheral players, and a secret revealed more than 50 years after the fact. For me, though, the book seemed to drag with an overdose of "back story" (I don't really care who the players dated five years before but never married). If 1/3 of the book were trimmed, it would be much more compelling.
Coleen
(3.5 stars) I love the sport of baseball, but when it comes to the history and knowledge of past players prior to the mid-80's, I'm sorely ignorant. And so in that respect, this book was very enlightening to me. I couldn't have told you what the "Shot Heard Round the World" was or who it referred to. Now I know.

It's obvious that Joshua Prager did his research. He was very thorough & extensive in his facts, even in the abridged audio edition that I listened to. However, that's also what bogge...more
Tom Gase
I've read better baseball books and worse baseball books than this one in my life, but the research was unbelievably good in this book by Josh Prager, who chronicles the 1951 season, which ended with the New York Giants Bobby Thomson hitting "the shot heard round the world" to win the pennant for the Giants and end an unbelievable comeback. It is often called the greatest moment in baseball history.
It is also tainted.
What we learn from great reporting in this book is that the Giants in the secon...more
Harold Kasselman
This is an exhaustively researched story about the 1951 NL pennant race, the two most prominent protagonists, and the unrivaled loyalty of the fans of the Giants and Dodgers.I thoroughly enjoyed the insights into the quasi-fanatical and all-encompassing raison d'etre that the game had for the people of Coogan's Bluff and Brooklyn.
The story of the sign stealing scheme that manager Leo Durocher implemented on July 20th unfolds in a compelling manner. The rumors of the stolen pennant lasted for a...more
Harold Kasselman
This is an exhaustively researched story about the 1951 NL pennant race, the two most prominent protagonists, and the unrivaled loyalty of the fans of the Giants and Dodgers.I thoroughly enjoyed the insights into the quasi-fanatical and all-encompassing raison d'etre that the game had for the people of Coogan's Bluff and Brooklyn.
The story of the sign stealing scheme that manager Leo Durocher implemented on July 20th unfolds in a compelling manner. The rumors of the stolen pennant lasted for al...more
Byron Edgington
The 'Miracle of Coogan's Bluff' may be the most appropriate label ever written for a single event in sports history. Prager's deeply researched and intricately explained, almost archeological study of Bobby Thomson's home run that ended the 1951 NL pennant race turns out to be not evidence of miracle at all at Coogan's field, but... bluff. Say it ain't so, Bobby doesn't quite say it at all. Stolen signs have always been a part of baseball, indeed of a lot of sports endeavors. But the '51 Giants...more
Joe Corso
If you are interested in the shot heard around the world. The Bobby Thompson home run in the ninth inning off of Ralph Branca, then this is the book for you. One of the best sports books I have ever read, Well researched and easy to read. I was 15 years old and in school on 63rd street in Manhattan when the game started. I remember leaving school and running to the corner bar which was filled to capacity with fans watching the game on the small screen sitting high above the bar. I got there in t...more
Caroline
The author's writing style was confusing and I often missed his transitions between Branca and Thompson. Yet I was still captivated by 350 pages about a 3-second homerun.
Michael Miller
An absolutely outstanding book! It delves deeply into one of the greatest sports moments of the 20th Century and allows you to understand it in away I never thought possible. You learn something on every page that you never knew before. I would love to see Joshua Prager do a series on Greatest Sports Moments of the 20th Century.
Jonathan Jesse
I have heard stories of "the shot heard round the world" and really wanted to know more. This book does a great job of giving the back story and then also what happened to the characters involved in this game.
Very interesting story and interesting read
Andrei Alupului
Unbelievably well researched and meticulous to the point that, through sheer overload of detail, Prager somehow manages to create a sense within you that you are actualy there, bearing witness to everything he's writing about. Beautiful, moving, great.
Mark Davis
Very good book with one rather large flaw - it's written in some kind of odd "Yoda speak." Hard to explain, but the sentences are written inside out. A great amount of detail, that borders on, but doesn't cross into, tedious. Worth a read.
Craig
A pretty captivating untold story behind one of the richest and well-known in baseball lore. The story-telling plodded on at times near the middle, but the reporting was thorough and balanced.
James Yasko
This was right in my wheelhouse - combining a social and cultural history of a specific time in American history, and of course, baseball. Best baseball book I've ever read.
Chris
A great story about what is and what isn't within the spirit of the rules, of both life and baseball.

One of the greatest quotes of all time about living with a lie.

Bruce A.
WEre the NY giants stealing signs from the Brooklyn Dodger's catcher when Bobby Thomson hit the shot heard round the world? Read it to find out.
Jodi
Nov 11, 2009 Jodi marked it as to-read
I'm not a huge sports reader, but this book is awesome so far. It has amazing historical facts, but is written like a novel.
Jeff
Great book. Cheating has always been a part of the game. Disappointed it might have been a part of this moment.
Chris Mizzoni
Very in depth analysis of the triumphant/tragic event and how the lives of the two men were changed. A real fun read.
Dr Gym Van Coen
Sep 11, 2007 Dr Gym Van Coen added it
Recommends it for: spacemen
serious work of journalism on baseball's most famous home run. great read before or after Underworld
Brandon
Quite possibly one of the best books I have ever read. It just so happens to be about baseball.
Brian
The level of detail is impressive. The book really immerses you in the era.
Michael
So unbelievably well-researched that it felt almost voyeuristic at times.
Darin
Ralph Branca knows how to keep a secret. We could all learn from him.
Paul
If you love baseball and its rich history, you will enjoy this book.
Carl
this is surprising really good. reads like an old espionage novel.
John
Only fault is that it is a tad heavy on the minutiae.

Alan
The untold story the worst day in my life- devastating!
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Joshua Prager writes for publications including Vanity Fair, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal, where he was a senior writer for eight years. George Will has described his work as "exemplary journalistic sleuthing."
--from the author's website
More about Joshua Prager...
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