Ralph Branca, a three-time All-Star pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1940s and ’50s who gave up “the shot heard ’round the world,” died Wednesday morning, according to his son-in-law, ex-Mets manager Bobby Valentine.
“One of the greatest guys to ever throw a pitch or sing a song is longer with us. Ralph Branca Passed this morning,” Valentine tweeted.
Branca, a Mount Vernon native, was 90.
“In his 91st year on Earth he left us with same dignity and grace that defined his everyday on earth,” Valentine tweeted. “He will be truly missed!!!”
The righthanded pitcher was best known for a relief appearance in a one-game playoff against the New York Giants in 1951 when he allowed the famous home run to Bobby Thomson, sending the Giants to the World Series.
In his time with Brooklyn, Branca played beside Jackie Robinson, famously lining up beside him while other players refused on Opening Day 1947.
Branca pitched 11 seasons total with the Dodgers, Tigers and Yankees. He had a career record of 88-68, including a career-high 21 wins in 1947, and a career ERA of 3.79 with 829 strikeouts.