Brooklyn Dodgers. Then and Now: Ralph Branca

Ralph Branca then

Ralph Theodore Joseph Branca was born on January 6, 1926 in Mount Vernon.   He was the fifteenth of seventeen children.   He was signed by the Dodgers after a local tryout.

Ralph’s  father, John Branca,  came to America from Italy.  Ralph’s mother, Katherine Berger, was born in Hungary.  Ralph married Ann Mulvey in 1951.  Her parents owned a share of the Dodgers, and her maternal grandfather had been president of the Brooklyn Club.

The Brooklyn Dodgers signed Branca out of the New York University in 1943, when he was just seventeen years old.

In 1947 the twenty-one-year-old Branca became the second-youngest National Leaguer to win 20 games.

Branca was involved in two of the biggest moments in baseball history.   One was the integration of baseball by Jackie Robinson in 1947, and the other was as the man who threw the pitch hit for a home run by Bobby Thompson that won the 1951 National League pennant for the New York Giants.

In January 2001, joshua Praeger, a reporter for the Wall Street journal published the details of a sign-stealing scheme the Giants rigged in the Polo Grounds.  The scheme involved a telescope from windows in the center-field clubhouse, a buzzer rigged under dirt in the bullpen, and a reserve catcher positioning his body and equipment to tip-off the batter as to which pitch was coming.

Branca said  his friendship with Jackie Robinson continued after baseball.  They played golf together when they worked in Manhattan and saw each other a lot while Jackie was with Chock Full of Nuts.

Ralph Branca now

Check out Ralph’s website at http://www.ralphbranca.com/  and his book:

Ref:  SABR.org, book:  ‘The Team that forever Changed Baseball and America  The 1947 Brooklyn dodgers”   Note:  I am loving this book!

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