I just finished reading Ralph Branca’s A Moment in Time: An American Story of Baseball, Heartbreak, and Grace.
It’s a wonderful story. To so many, Branca is only known, unfairly, as the pitcher who allowed Bobby Thomson’s “Shot Heard ’Round the World.” However, as we learn reading this book, there’s so much more to his baseball career and life.
Branca was pitching in the majors when he was 18-years old. As a 19-year old, albeit in a handful of games, he was excelling in the big leagues. And, at the ages of 21, 22 and 23, Ralph was an All-Star and a MVP candidate. Then, after allowing the homerun to Thomson, in the following Spring, he suffered a freak accident and his career was derailed. However, he kept fighting to still pitch in the game that he loved so much.
One thing that I truly enjoyed about Branca’s A Moment in Time, was that it captured what is was like to grow-up in the ’40′s and play in the major leagues, and in New York, in the 1940′s and 1950′s. For example, Branca was there when Jackie Robinson broke into the big leagues – and Ralph was a Robinson supporter, and a good friend, to Jackie, right until Robinson’s death.
But, what I enjoyed most was learning about Ralph Branca, the man. He is extremely elegant and you cannot come away from A Moment in Time without realizing this to be true – especially when you learn how Branca kept quiet for many, many, years after learning about how the Giants were stealing signs in 1951.
Branca is now 85-years old. And, we’re so lucky that he’s taken the time to share his story. I highly recommend Ralph Branca’s A Moment in Time: An American Story of Baseball, Heartbreak, and Grace to baseball fans of any team and of all ages.
For more on the book/story, click here.