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June 22 , 2009

Miracle Ball

My Hunt for the Shot Heard 'Round the World


The captivating, utterly improbable but ultimately true story of one man’s quest to solve sports’ greatest mystery: What happened to the most famous of all home-run balls–the holy grail of sports?
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October 3, 1951. Giants third baseman Bobby Thomson hit the most dramatic home run in the history of baseball. The moment occurred in the bottom of the ninth inning of a sudden-death playoff game between the New York Giants and their arch rivals from Brooklyn, the Dodgers. People across the nation watched on their new TV sets, and the home run became known as “the Shot Heard ’Round the World.”

But after clearing the left-field wall, the central artifact of the play–the ball itself–inexplicably went missing. The mystery of what happened to the legendary baseball has remained unsolved for a half century.

Until now.

Miracle Ball is the gripping account of author Brian Biegel’s two-year effort to unravel the mystery that experts said could never be solved. After his father, Jack, finds a baseball at a thrift store with clues dating back to 1951 and believes it could possibly be the most coveted piece of sports history, father and son begin a journey to prove its authenticity. Biegel becomes consumed with the quest–recognizing it as the only chance to rescue himself from an emotionally devastating personal crisis that had long been crippling him.

The trail takes Biegel, a sports fan and documentary filmmaker, from an auction house in Long Island to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, to a backroom meeting straight out of a Martin Scorsese film to a dusty oil field in Texas, finally arriving at his final destination on a quiet gravel road in New Mexico, the last place he ever expected to be.

Along the way the author meets an amazing cast of characters, including Bobby Thomson himself, who help him in his quest. Each adds their personal memories of the golden age of baseball, giving a broader scope and greater depth to this real-life detective story. As entertaining as it is inspiring, Miracle Ball is a story about faith, family, and heroes, about overcoming the odds and coming into the light, and about discovering the wondrous result of believing in yourself–and the amazing benefits of unconditional love.

A sports story for the ages, an engrossing mystery narrative, and a moving account of a man’s unbreakable bond with his family and of his struggles to save himself, Miracle Ball delivers both heart and headlines.

From the Hardcover edition.
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