Sixty-five years ago Monday, New York Giants outfielder Bobby Thomson hit one of baseball’s most iconic home runs. Thomson’s October blast–forever known as the ‘Shot Heard ‘Round the World’ off of the Brooklyn Dodgers’ Ralph Branca–clinched the 1951 National League pennant for the Giants. While they went on to lose the World Series to the New York Yankees, few can argue the significance of Thomson’s home run to cap an epic comeback to end the Brooklyn Dodgers’ season.
Here are five of Thomson’s earliest cards to help celebrate his famous blast.
1948 Bowman Rookie Card
For a pre-1950 rookie card of a three-time All-Star and the player who hit one of the biggest home runs in baseball history, Thomson’s 1948 Bowman card is still a great buy. 1948 was also a special year for him as e made the All-Star Game for the first time in his career.
The card is from Bowman’s first ever baseball card set and features Thomson in black and white a few years before the iconic home run. A decent mid-grade card can usually be found on eBay in the $50-$100 range, depending on condition.
The only mainstream card of Thomson from 1949 came in Bowman’s follow-up to their 1948 debut. 1949 was another great season for Thomson, who batted over .300 for the first time (.309), making his second consecutive All-Star Game. The front of Thomson’s 1949 Bowman card is virtually a carbon copy of his 1948 issue, only in color.
This one’s generally available starting around $25-$35 in raw mid-grade condition.
Starting in 1950 Royal Desserts produced a series of cards on the backs of their dessert boxes. Thomson landed a card in the series, which can be found with either a black and white photo or a photo with blue tint, which is rarer. In addition, collectors should note that there are two variations of his card. One begins the second paragraph with “In 1949…” while the second variation starts with “Thomson is…”
Since these are hand-cut, they often are found with poor trim jobs. This is one of Thomson’s more difficult cards to find with prices varying quite a bit.
Similar to 1949, Thomson didn’t have much in the way of cards available for his famous 1951 season. However, his 1951 Bowman card is still a staple for Thomson collectors and an attractive issue with a full color picture on the front, thin white border, and name in white font against a black background.
The 1951 Bowman set is considered one of the hobby’s most significant post-war trading card sets. Decent copies are plentiful usually available in the $25-$50 range.
Topps’ first real foray into the trading card industry came in 1952 with the creation of a 407-card release, which would become one of the all-time great sets. That year marked the third and final time Thomson would be named to an All-Star team.
The outfielder fortunately managed his way into the 1952 Topps set featuring full-color photographs and replica signatures at the bottom. As an added bonus, the back of Thomson’s 1952 release even recognizes his historic home run from the previous season. Mid-grade copies often start at around $150.