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ralph branca, 1949 bowman #194, brooklyn dodgers

Player: Branca, Ralph

Card: 1949 Bowman #194

Position: RHP

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"Anne [Mulvey] and I were engaged, we were going to be married in seventeen days, and when I finally got out to the car, Anne started to cry. And she had a cousin who's a priest, Father Pat Rowley, and I said to him, 'Why me?' He said, 'God chose you because he knew your faith would be strong enough to bear this cross.'

And I accepted that, that it would be something I would have to bear for the rest of my life, and I would I accept it. I went about my business but it was tough on the family. Idiots would call my house and talk to my mother: 'Your son should learn how to pitch.'" - Ralph Branca, to Peter Golenbock, from Bums: An Oral History Of The Brooklyn Dodgers

Ralph Theodore Joseph Branca was born in Mount Vernon, NY as the fifteenth of seventeen children. His middle name was for President Theodore Roosevelt. Branca’s father, John Branca, came to America from Italy as a child with his family in 1888. Ralph was named after his grandfather, Raffaele, who took the name Ralph in the United States. Ralph’s mother was Katherine Berger, who was born in Hungary.

He played 12 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB), from 1944 through 1956. Branca played for the Brooklyn Dodgers (1944–1953, 1956), Detroit Tigers (1953–1954), and New York Yankees (1954). He was a three-time All-Star.

In a 1951 playoff, Branca surrendered a walk-off home run to Bobby Thomson of the New York Giants; the game-winning hit was known as the "Shot Heard 'Round the World", which overshadowed a successful career.

He had a lifelong friendship with both Jackie Robinson, and Bobby Thompson, though the latter relationship was strained after it was revealed that the Giants had stolen signs in the 1951 series.

He was also a devoted poet, and also held the record for 17 consecutive wins on the television game show Concentration.

(excerpted from Wikipedia, BR Bullpen & SABR)


1951 Bowman #56
1952 Bowman #96
1961 Nu Card Scoops #480
2009 Italian American Baseball Heroes #16


Ralph is part of the New York City Born Player Tour – Go to the Next Stop

Branca is also part of the Italian American Sports Hall of Fame Tour – Go to the Next Stop

Ralph is part of the All-Star Player Tour – Go to the Next Stop

Ralph is part of the LA/Brooklyn Dodgers Player Tour – Go to the Next Stop

Ralph is also part of the New York Yankee Players Tour – Go To the Next Stop

Ralph is also part of the Detroit Tigers Player Tour – Go to the Next Stop

See all Ralph’s baseball cards at TCDB

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