MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. -- Happy Birthday to Mount Vernon’s Ralph Branca!
Ralph Theodore Joseph Branca, who was born in Mount Vernon, turns 88 on Monday.
Branca, a former starting pitcher in Major League Baseball, was born Jan. 6, 1926. From 1944 through 1956, Branca played for the Brooklyn Dodgers (1944–53, 1956), Detroit Tigers (1953–54), and New York Yankees (1954).
A three-time All-Star, he won 80 games for the Dodgers with a career-high 21 wins in 1947. In 1947, he was second in the National League in wins, innings pitched (280), and strikeouts (148), third in earned run average (2.67), and sixth in won-lost percentage (.636). In 1948, he was ninth in the league in wins (14) and won-lost percentage (.609). In 1949, he led the National League in won-lost percentage (.722). In 1951, he was tenth in the National League in ERA (3.26).
In 1951, pitching for the Dodgers in a playoff game at the Polo Grounds against the crosstown rival New York Giants. in the bottom of the ninth inning he surrendered a three-run walk-off home run, known as "The Shot Heard 'Round the World" to Bobby Thomson, giving the Giants the National League pennant.
In the 2012 movie, "Parental Guidance," Branca makes a cameo appearance as a judge during a scene involving an audition for a music school.
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