NOT everyone saw The Shot Heard ‘Round The World. Frank Sinatra was just one of a clutch of celebrities packed inside the Polo Grounds on October 3, 1951 to watch his beloved New York Giants clinch baseball’s National League pennant against local rivals the Brooklyn Dodgers.

When Bobby Thomson, the Glaswegian batter, struck his three-run home run to send the Giants to the World Series, however, Sinatra was temporarily distracted. His friend, the actor Jackie Gleason, had just been sick all over his lap.

“Here is one of the all-time classic games and I don’t see Bobby Thomson hit that home run,” lamented Ol’ Blue Eyes years later.

The first baseball game to be broadcast on television throughout the United States, the home run catapulted Thomson to national stardom.  

John Steinbeck and Jack Kerouac wrote about the game’s famous denouement. Fellow author Don De Lillo used the story of the game-winning ball as the basis of his book Underworld. The contest was also referenced in The Simpsons while the commentary played on the radio as Sonny Corleone was gunned down in The Godfather.

On the tenth anniversary of Thomson’s death, it remains one of the most iconic moments in American sporting history.

“The home run is still considered one of the great moments in American sports, and still right towards the very top for baseball,” revealed Jay Price of the Staten Island Sports Hall of Fame, the New York borough where the Thomson family settled after leaving Scotland.

Thomson was known throughout his career as the Staten Island Scot and was one of the first inductees to the Hall. There is now an ambassador award presented in his honour each year.

“To fully understand the immensity of the moment, it helps to know that it came at the climax of the fiercest and most improbable pennant chase the game has seen, between teams that shared the same fanbase and a genuine dislike for each other, at a time when baseball was truly the National Pastime; and when New York, with three teams, was the centre of the baseball universe,” added Price.

“The deciding game was one of the first sporting events televised nationally, and it was broadcast around the globe on Armed Forces Radio.

“Thanks to that one swing, Thomson is certainly the Staten Island Sports Hall of Fame's best-known inductee, despite the presence of multiple Olympians, All-Americans, and Super Bowl champions. And, especially among those Staten Islanders old enough to have known him, the best-loved.”

Born in the Townhead area of Glasgow, Thomson moved to the United States with his family when he was just two years old.

There the old-fashioned Scots values of parents James and Elizabeth and his five elder siblings would continue to shape his life, even despite the nationwide attention that followed his game-winning swat - some of it negative after subsequent accusations that the Giants had cheated.

Good or bad, Thomson remained a humble figure throughout the hysteria. “It’s just a home run,” he once shrugged.

“It’s been our experience that the biggest sports stars of Bobby's generation were often among the most gracious, and Bobby was the epitome of that,” added Price, a former sportswriter, author and fellow inductee in the Hall of Fame.  

“A lot of [his humility] came from his father, who taught all his children not to make themselves the centre of attention and to "do what's right”.

“I don't think Bobby ever thought of those things as corny; and as the youngest, he heard them reinforced by his brother and sisters. He was genuinely embarrassed at having jumped onto home plate after his famous home run, which seems quaint compared to the show some guys put on today.

“When he was inducted with the first class of the Staten Island Sports Hall of Fame in 1995, it was up to him to choose his presenter. He could've had one of the old Giants players, or any one of a number of celebrities who would've been thrilled to do it.

“But he chose the equipment manager from Wagner College who ran the gas station where Bobby often stopped on his way to the Polo Grounds. He did it because he thought it would mean something to the other guy.”

Despite his legendary status in the United States, Thomson remains relatively unknown in his homeland, although he was voted into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame in 2003.

The man himself, who passed away aged 86 on August 16, 2010, would likely have been embarrassed by the fuss.

“He was humble in every regard, and I can't imagine him ever "big-timing" anyone,” added Price. “I can honestly say that I've never met anyone who knew Bobby Thomson, on any level, who had a bad word to say about him.”