Bobby Thomson was a fine hitter early in his career. Between 1948 and 1952 he made three All-Star teams, received MVP votes in three seasons … he even led the league in triples in 1952. In 1953, he played in every game, and knocked in 106 runs.
In the off-season, Thomson and a backup catcher were traded to the Braves for Johnny Antonelli, Don Liddle, a backup catcher, a prospect, and $50,000. (Antonelli stuck with the Giants long enough to pitch three seasons in San Francisco.) Unfortunately, Bobby broke his ankle in spring training. His replacement was a rookie named Henry Aaron. Thomson was never the same hitter after that … he had turned 30 in 1954, and while he played another two-and-a-half seasons for the Braves, he didn’t return to the heights of his years with the Giants.
In the middle of the 1957 season, he was traded along with two other players for Red Schoendienst. His new club? The New York Giants.
The next year, the Giants moved to San Francisco, but just before the start of the season, he was traded to the Cubs, and thus never played for the Giants in their new home. He had a good year for the Cubs, played another year for them, squeezed in a few games in 1960 with the Red Sox and then the Orioles, and was finally released by Baltimore in late July.
Thomson played 15 seasons in the big leagues for 5 different clubs, but he’ll always be remembered as a Giant. He played longer for them than for all the other teams combined, and, of course, he hit that homer.
He was a Giant from 1946 through 1953, and then again in 1957.
Since 1934, the Giants have only won the World Series once. That year was 1954 … the year Thomson was traded away. 1951 was the only Series he ever played in, and the Giants lost that one to the Yankees. He came thisclose to a championship ring. Fans of the 1962 and 2002 Giants can appreciate that.