At the mound, Dressen handed Branca the ball and said: "Get him out." Without another word the manager turned and walked back to the dugout.
Watching Branca take his eight warmup pitches, Thomson thought of his own goal. He had two hits. Another now would give him his 3 for 4. It would also tie the score.
"Boy," Durocher said to Thomson, "if you ever hit one, hit one now." Thomson nodded but said nothing. Then he stepped up to the plate.
Branca's first pitch was a fast ball, hip-high over the inside corner. "Should have swung at that," Thomson told himself, backing out of the box.
"I got my strike," thought Branca. Now it was time to come up and in with a fast ball. Now it was time for a bad pitch that might tempt Thomson to waste a swing. If he went for the bad ball, chances were he'd miss. If he took it, Branca would still be ready to come back with a curve, low and away. Branca was moving the ball around, a basic point when pitching to good hitters.
The pitch came in high and tight, just where Branca had wanted it. Thomson swung hard and the ball sailed out toward left.
"Get down, get down," screamed Billy Cox as the line drive carried high over his head.
"I got a chance at it," thought Andy Pafko, bolting back toward the wall.
Then the ball was gone, under the overhanging scoreboard, over the high wall, gone deep into the seats in lower left. For seconds, which seemed like minutes, the crowd sat dumb. Then came the roar. It was a roar matched all across the country, wherever people sat at radio or television sets, a roar of delight, a roar of horror, but mostly a roar of utter shock. It was a moment when all the country roared and when an office worker in a tall building in Wall Street, hearing a cry rise all about her, wondered if war had been declared.
As the ball sailed into the stands, Thomson danced around the bases, skipping and leaping. The Giants crowded from their dugout to home plate. Ed Stanky, the second baseman, ran to Durocher, jumped on the manager's back, wrestled him to the ground and hugged him.