Deadlocked with identical 96-58 records at the end of the 1951 season, the Giants and Dodgers squared off in a best-of-three showdown for Senior Circuit supremacy. These (2) programs were respectively issued for the October 1 series opener at Ebbets Field and for the climactic October 3 finale at the Polo Grounds. Both present beautifully with covers and crisp pages intact and scoring grids marked to document Giants victories in which Bobby Thomson homered off of Ralph Branca to provide the decisive margin both times. More on our website.
While programs of this era did not list specific dates, these are undoubtedly from that winner-take-all series. Among the telltale signs is the listing of Bill Sharman on the Dodgers roster (both programs). Most are familiar with Sharman for his Hall of Fame exploits on the basketball court. Unbeknownst to many, Sharman spent parts of five seasons in the Dodgers minor league system, toiling for various clubs from Pueblo, Colorado to St. Paul, Minnesota. While Sharman never appeared in a Major League game, he was summoned by the parent club in late September, 1951 and was actually ejected (as was the entire Dodgers bench) from the September 27 game at Braves Field. Sharman holds the distinction of being the only player ejected from a Major League game while never having appeared in one. Additionally, there are the listings of Wayne Belardi and Mickey Livingston on the Brooklyn roster pages. Belardi spent the 1951 season with the Mobile Bears (the clubís Class AA Southern Association affiliate) and did not play with the parent club until September 22. Livingston, meanwhile, spent the season with the Class AAA American Associationís St. Paul Saints and did not debut with the Dodgers until September 19. The last regularly scheduled contests between the Dodgers and Giants were September 2 (at Polo Grounds) and September 9 (at Ebbets Field). Neither Belardi nor Livingston were with the Dodgers on those dates and therefore, would not have been listed in any regular season program at either venue. Finally, the scorecard page on the Polo Grounds program has a blank upper border. While the line score was neatly penciled at the game that day, this space was normally reserved for the printed listing of National League pitchers. This facilitated numeric identification for fans looking at the scoreboard. The simple logic explaining their absence is that there were no other games during the Giants-Dodgers three-game playoff.
As for the conditions of these guides, it is highly unlikely you will find any as pristine as these programs from that unforgettable series. We note that the Ebbets Field-issued 20-page program has a handwritten date on the front coverís upper border. The Polo Grounds 20-page program is clean throughout. Both are free of creases or compacting folds commonly found on stadium-issued publications of this era. More than half a century later, itís amazing not only that these have remained free of any age-induced toning, but that each obviously survived an afternoon at the ballpark and escaped without and creases or folds. The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!