The search for the ball Bobby Thomson hit to famously win the 1951 pennant for the New York Giants has been the subject of tavern gossip, news stories—even a book and short film–but what happened to it likely will never be known. The same for the uniform he wore on that early October day. His bat is the Hall of Fame. His cap sold for $173,000 in an auction four years ago. Now, though, another artifact –the one that Thomson touched to complete his euphoric journey around the bases—is about to be offered at auction.
Jerry Schwab, the son of the Giants groundskeeper at the time, Matty Schwab, has consigned the plate he says his father saved from the ballpark following the dramatic win over the Brooklyn Dodgers and handed down to him. It’s been consigned to Heritage Auctions’ February Platinum Night catalog, with a minimum bid of $50,000 but Heritage officials believe it will sell for a six-figure price. The plate includes a notarized letter of provenance from Jerry Schwab.
Ironically, Matty Schwab had worked for the Dodgers where his immaculately groomed field caught the eye of Giants owner Horace Stoeham, who offered him a sizeable raise. Schwab accepted the offer after the 1945 season and was in charge of the Polo Grounds field on the day of the playoff game, watching his team break the hearts of his former club.
After being hired by Giants owner Horace Stoneham, Schwab, his wife Rose and Jerry maintained their home in Brooklyn. Eventually, the commute to Manhattan became difficult during the long days and nights of the season. Giants owner Horace Stoneham then built the family a two bedroom apartment beneath the left field stands, directly below where Thomson’s homer would land. For a boy, it was quite a place to call home. According to a 1986 Sports Illustrated story, Jerry would invite friends over, then sleep under the stars in the outfield grass.
Matty Schwab stayed with the Giants after their move west following the 1957 season and stayed with the club until his retirement in 1979.