One old-timer who might want to weigh in on the current state of pitching affairs is Ralph Branca, one of the Brooklyn Dodgers of whom Roger Kahn wrote so evocatively in his 1972 classic, THE BOYS OF SUMMER.
For all of his accomplishments, Branca will forever be remembered as having thrown the ball that the New York Giants’ Bobby Thomson hit for “the shot ‘heard round the world” in 1951, which is perennially listed as one of the most dramatic moments in sports.
Branca has always borne this burden with dignity as he recalls in his new memoir, A MOMENT IN TIME: An American Story of Baseball, Heartbreak, and Grace (co-written with David Ritz). In this slim volume, Branca tries to put across the fact that “a moment” should not serve to identify a lifetime. He had a lot of great experiences on and off the field (he won 21 games in 1947 and was a three-time All-Star) and was a prime example of the adage “what doesn’t kill you just makes you stronger,” as he faced --- and still faces --- questions from fans who blame him for another Dodger disappointment.
Reviewed by Ron Kaplan on September 27, 2011