Russ Hodges yelled so loud the words can be heard more than six decades later.
As Bobby Thomson homered to win the National League pennant for the New York Giants in 1951, the radio announcer repeatedly proclaimed, “The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!”
The excitement was so overwhelming that Hodges never marked that home run on his scorecard. Maybe he just didn't want it to end.
Regardless, the scorecard, which later was signed by Hodges and his radio booth partner Ernie Harwell, is part of the collection at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., and is among the featured items in the new book “Inside the Baseball Hall of Fame” (Simon & Schuster, $35).
Like Hodges' scorecard, the collection at Cooperstown is proof that the game never really ends.
Baseball history heralds Lou Gehrig's string of consecutive games played: 2,130.
But this book includes another special Gehrig collection. Gehrig had a striking bracelet crafted for his wife, Eleanor, that eventually represented World Championships, All-Star games and MVP awards. Eleanor left the bracelet to the Hall of Fame upon her death.
“Inside the Baseball Hall of Fame” features many stories/items that readers either should know about or be reminded of with a new Major League Baseball season underway.
There are 200 full-color photographs in the book, including Jackie Robinson's “Day-by-Day sheet” of his statistics from the season he broke the color barrier in 1947; the mitt Yogi Berra used to catch Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series; and the ball then-President William H. Taft threw to Washington Senators pitcher Walter Johnson on Opening Day in 1910.
The collection is such that any given number of readers will find their own “look at this” selections that they want to share.
And it's likely that many readers of “Inside the Baseball Hall of Fame,” especially baseball enthusiasts, will wish this one never ended.
— Bryan Painter