One of Ernie Harwell’s most cherished moments in the broadcast booth only exists in his memory.
In October of 1951, the New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers were squaring off in a three game series to decide which team would win the National League pennant and head to the World Series. Both teams finished the regular season with 96-58 records.
On October 3, the series was tied one game a piece and the third game was to be played. Mr. Harwell was in the booth at the Polo Grounds giving play-by-play for NBC Television in the first coast-to-coast TV broadcast. Mr. Harwell’s broadcast partner, Russ Hodges was given a radio assignment during the series. The assumption, at the time, was that Ernie landed the better of the two assignments.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, Bobby Thomson hit what would come to be known at “The Shot Heard ‘Round the World” when he hit a walk-off home run that sent the Giants to the World Series. Hodges became immortalized in an instant as he enthusiastically made his now-famous call, “The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!”
As it turned out, Ernie’s broadcast was not recorded. Hodges’ was and the rest is history.
I would give anything to hear what Ernie had to say. Tiger fans have no doubt it would have been even more exciting and meaningful than the words Hodges pieced together. Here is a video clip of Ernie explaining what happened on that fateful day: