Title: The Shot Heard ‘Round the World
Release Date: July 11, 2001
Production Company: HBO Sports
This documentary goes back in time to when New York City was the capital of baseball. The Brooklyn Dodgers fans hated the New York Giants, and the Giants fans hated the Dodgers, and they both hated the Yankees. The 1951 season was pivotal in that the Dodgers took a huge lead in the National League and went on cruise control. Late in the season the Giants went on a hot streak and tied the Dodgers on the last day of the season, leading to a best-of-three playoff.
In addition to the heated rivalry among players and fans of the teams, the documentary focuses on the Giants’ elaborate plot to steal signs during home games in the latter half of the season. The jury is still out on how much this gamesmanship helped them catch the Dodgers since statistics show that their batting average dropped, pitching improved, and they won more games on the road than at home after it began.
The three game playoff is analyzed from several angles. Many involved seem to point to Dodgers’ manager Charlie Dressen as the real goat for his poor decisions in game. Special attention is given to the life stories and game experiences of the two pivotal figures of the final playoff game, Bobby Thompson who hit the pennant-winning “Shot Heard ‘Round the World,” and Ralph Branca, the Dodgers’ relief pitcher who surrendered the home run on his second pitch in the game.
Interviewees include ballplayers like Branca, Thompson, Willie Mays and Duke Snider as well as a number of fans including celebrities like Jerry Lewis and Larry King.