The Sox blow the pennant! The Sox blow the pennant!

With historic baseball chokes becoming topic of the month for sports writers, it inevitably brings up my favorite baseball lore of all time…the 1951 pennant race. In the Rosenthal column quoted below, he draws on it for comparison to today’s White Sox.

The 1951 Brooklyn Dodgers blew a 13 1/2-game lead on Aug. 11 when the New York Giants went 38-8 down the stretch, forcing a one-game playoff that the Giants won on Bobby Thomson’s home run.

Two things I love about this story. First, one of my alltime favorite MASH episodes used the 1951 pennant race as a vehicle for a year-in-the-life episode, wherein Klinger convinces Charles to bet the house on the Dodgers, the entire rest of the camp bets on the Giants, culminating in the epic radio call, “The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!”

Second, the mystery of how the Giants could possibly have gone 38-8 down the stretch got even more fantastic when the Wall Street Journal did a story a few years back detailing how the Giants stole the signs for the last two months of the season at the Polo Grounds, through an elaborate binocular, wire, door bell and signal system. There is nothing better than old school baseball chicanery, and if the Giants did in fact steal the signs to win the 1951 pennant, that is old school baseball chicanery at its finest.

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