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Our Blog: 1951 NL Pennant Race

1951 NL Pennant Race - First days of blog. June 20 and 21. Preacher Roe keeps his perfect record intact with his 10th win.

Posted by Ken Revis at 11:33 AM on June 21, 2011

This is first of a series on the 1951 Dodger/Giant Pennant Race.


The year is 1951. Our servicemen are halfway around the world, fighting the Korean War. The trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg is ongoing. McCarthyism is in full swing. President Harry Truman fires General Douglas MacArthur from his duties in the Pacific. Howard Hawks' film "The Thing" is playing at theaters near you, and "Tennessee Waltz", sung by Patti Page was the most popular song of the year.


In 1951, baseball revolves around New York. There are only 16 teams, 8 in each league. The Braves are still in Boston, the Athletics in Philadelphia, and the Browns in St. Louis. In New York, the Brooklyn Dodgers and their rival, the New York Giants are fighting it out, while the Yankees continue to dominate the American League.

The 1951 National League pennant race was perhaps the most famous one of all, and culminated with the Shot Heard 'Round the World, the famous Bobby Thomson home run. We are posting a daily blog, exactly one year to the day, on what is now the 60th anniversary of each game. This will be a daily blog to relive that special season between the Giants and the Dodgers. We're going to start with the first day of summer, and since I'm not sure what date it was in the calendar, I'm going with two dates. Besides, June 21 coincides with the date of this initial posting, and my goal will be to have a posting for each day in the 1951 season to match the current date.

June 20: The Dodgers have a comfortable, although not insurmountable lead on the morning of Wednesday, June 20.

Team W L W-L% GB
Dodgers 37 19 .661 --
Giants 35 27 .565 5.0


Cardinals 4, Giants 2
The Giants are facing the Cardinals in an afternoon game at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis. 15,483 fans are in the stands to watch New York's Jim Hearn, with a record of 6 and 4, face the Cardinals' Red Munger, who has 3 wins against 3 losses. Leo Durocher is the manager for the Giants and Marty Marion for the Cards. Billy Johnson is 2 for 4 in the game, including his 13th double of the year. Stan Musial also doubles and knocks in his 46th run of the year. Both team have 8 hits, but the Giants have 2 errors by Hank Thompson and Alvin Dark. Willie Mays is 1 for 3 with an RBI. St. Louis wins, 4 to 2. See Game

Reds 2, Dodgers 1
The Dodgers are playing a night game at Crosley Field with the Cincinnati Reds. 7,880 people are in attendance. Chuck Dressen is the manager for the Dodgers and Luke Sewell for the Reds. For Brooklyn, Johnny Schmitz with 1 win and 3 losses is facing Ken Raffensberger, who has 6 wins and 7 losses. Bob Usher is 2 for 4 with 2 runs batted in for the Reds. Raffensberger goes all the way, scattering 4 hits. In the 5th inning, Roy Campanella hits his 8th home run of the year, with nobody on. The Reds win, 2 to 1, getting only 3 hits in the game. The Dodgers have 4. See Game

June 21: So, with the Dodgers and the Giants both losing yesterday, the Dodgers still lead by 5 on the morning of Thursday, June 21.

Team W L W-L% GB
Dodgers 37 20 .649 --
Giants 35 28 .556 5.0


Dodgers 6, Reds 4
The Dodgers have an afternoon game at Crosley Field with the Reds. 5,827 people are in attendance. Preacher Roe is their starter, with a perfect 9 and 0 record. Howie Fox, at 3 and 3, is the pitcher for Cincinnati. The Dodgers get off to a 4 to 0 lead in the 4th inning on the strength of doubles by Rocky Bridges and Cal Abrams. They score 2 more in the 5th on a Jackie Robinson home run and a single by Carl Furillo, knocking in Gil Hodges, who has doubled earlier. The Dodgers go on to win, 6 to 4. Roe gets his 10th win, preserving his perfect record. Fox gets the loss. Carl Erskine, facing 2 batters, gets the save, his 1st of the year. See Game.

Cardinals 2, Giants 0
The Giants are again facing the Cardinals, in a day game at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis. 8,706 people are in the stands to watch New York' s Sheldon Jones, with a record of 0 and 5, face the Cardinals' Gerry Staley, who has 0 wins against 5 losses. Staley goes all the way, scattering 5 hits. Red Schoendienst has his 11th double and knocks in a run. Whitey Lockman goes 2 for 4 in a losing effort. See Box Score. (Play-by-Play not available)

Categories: 1951 NL Pennant Race
Teams: Athletics, Braves, Browns, Cardinals, Dodgers, Giants, Reds, Yankees
Players: Cal Abrams, Rocky Bridges, Roy Campanella, Chuck Dressen, Leo Durocher, Carl Erskine, Carl Furillo, Jim Hearn, Billy Johnson, Sheldon Jones, Jones, Jones, Whitey Lockman, Marty Marion, Willie Mays, Red Munger, Stan Musial, Jackie Robinson, Preacher Roe, Johnny Schmitz, Red Schoendienst, Gerry Staley, Bobby Thomson, Hank Thompson, Thompson, Bob Usher
Games: CIN195106200, CIN195106210, SLN195106200, SLN195106210

Comments about 1951 NL Pennant Race - First days of blog. June 20 and 21. Preacher Roe keeps his perfect record intact with his 10th win. — Add your comment

6 Re: 1951 NL Pennant Race Dodgers/Giants June 20 and 21
Posted by Joe Weber – 06/23/2011 at 7:19 PM
There ain't no parallel universe. And stealing signals wasn't even illegal. So Joel, deal with it. Get a life. And perhaps you will even recognize that Thomson's phenomenal shot was God's advance punishment for one or more of your future sins. Or perhaps it was just a random occurrence that we allegedly-sentient beings take way too seriously. So let's just party on!
5 Re: 1951 Dodgers/Giants June 20 and 21
Posted by Ken Revis – 06/22/2011 at 9:25 PM
The presumed stolen signals is part of what makes this such a great story. We will address this in a later blog.
4 Re: 1951 Dodgers/Giants June 20 and 21
Posted by Joel Abrams – 06/22/2011 at 7:36 PM
Speaking as one for whom the result of the 1951 season was agony, I am hoping that your blog in October will reveal a different outcome from a parallel universe - one in which the Giants are discovered sending signals from their perch in center field. Nah, they wouldn't do that.
3 Re: 1951 Dodgers/Giants
Posted by Joe Weber – 06/21/2011 at 5:32 PM
I've never much been into deferred gratification, as those of you who hung with me in college and beyond surely know. I will check in periodically until August 11th. Then perhaps every day. On that date, the Gints were 13 1/2 games behind the Bums. From then on, it should be way groovy!...leading up to that orgasmic shot. In your face, Dodger fans!
2 Re: 1951 Dodgers/Giants
Posted by Ken Revis – 06/21/2011 at 3:58 PM
It's the process that matters. Getting to see how we got to Thomson's home run is what's fun. For those who lived through it, it was ecstasy for some (Giant fans) and agony for others (Dodger fans).
1 Re: 1951 Dodgers/Giants
Posted by Joe Weber – 06/21/2011 at 2:11 PM
This is cool! But I'm not sure I can wait until October to relive that glorious moment: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrI7dVj90zs.

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