Last week I ordered the book, A Moment in Time, the Ralph Branca Autobiography and I received it yesterday. I have literally been unable to put it down. It's an amazing story told by a Dodger that was about as good a man as we would ever know. I met Ralph Branca very briefly in 1998 when I had a day in FLorida and I drove over to vero Beach right when the Dodger Adult Baseball Camp was going on. I sat in the Holman Stadium stands and watched Ralph Branca interact with the campers. I struck up a conversation with him when I retrieved a few foul balls and brought them back to him at the dugout. He was outgoing, friendly and kind.
I knew he had been through quite an ordeal, but I had no idea at the time that he knew that he had been cheated out of the pennant and that he had chosen to not expose the cheating Giants. He kept the secret for almost 50 years. This story needs to be re-told. It isn't possible to do it in one post. I apologize for breaking away from Spring Training news, but there are enough blogs out there that provide the daily dose of Camelback Ranch news. I take a respite from that for a few days and write about Ralph and his life. (Please note that any quotes referenced in this piece come from Branca's book, published by Simon and Schuster, 2011 autobiography, A Moment in Time, by Ralph Branca and David Ritz)
What few seem to remember was the influence Branca had in assisting the acceptance of Jackie Robinson as he entered on to the scene. Not only did he serve a leadership role and as an example in that aspect with the Dodgers in 1947, but it would coincide with his greatest season in the majors.
HERE is the link to PART TWO