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MLB: An Angry Bobby Thomson Denies Giants Spy System in '51

Mar. 23, 1962 - A chagrined Bobby Thomson said today “it positively isn’t so” that a secret signal from center field triggered his famous home run that won the 1951 National League pennant for the New York Giants. He challenged the man who made the charge to “show some character — come out in the open and reveal yourself.” “It was a high inside fastball and nobody called the pitch,” the former Giant outfielder said. “That’s the most ridiculous thing I ever heard. If I’d been getting signals, why wouldn’t I have hit the first pitch? It was a fat one right down the middle.” A former member of the Giants, who requested anonymity, said in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., yesterday that the club had rigged up an electrical apparatus in the center field clubhouse of the Polo Grounds with a wire leading to the Giants’ dugout. In Phoenix, Ariz., where the Giants are training, a source close to the team confirmed the 1951 spy operation. But in Vero Beach, Fla., Leo Durocher, the former Giant manager and now a coach with the Dodgers, vehemently denied it. “No, no, no,” Durocher said. “The man who dreamed that story up has been reading too much fiction. We never had anything like that. If we had signals, Bobby would have murdered that first pitch.” Thomson, retired since 1960, did not attempt to conceal his anger. “I don’t know why the fellow saying these things wants to remain anonymous. He is tossing my name around. Why should he keep himself in the dark?” Ralph Branca, whose career went into a tailspin after pitching the home-run ball to Thomson, said Bobby’s description of the pitches was correct. “The first one was right down the pipe,” the former Dodger said. “On the second one, I tried to brush him back a bit, but I didn’t get the ball in tight enough. I always figured he just outguessed me.”

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