It was later displayed on a nail in a Las Vegas apartment, offered back to its original owner during a golf course sales pitch and headed to Cooperstown where it was displayed in an exhibit for almost 30 years.
Now the cap that Bobby Thomson wore as he circled the bases after hitting "The Shot Heard 'Round The World" at the Polo Grounds in 1951 is adding another chapter to its mysterious history. The famous lid will go up for bid in a SCP Auctions event that starts on April 30. Sports memorabilia experts believe it could fetch $100,000 or more when the auction finally ends.
With all due apologies to Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays, Thomson's cap really has been the most famous "missing" cap in baseball history. It was lifted from Thomson's head in the moments after his blast lifted his New York Giants over the Brooklyn Dodgers and into the '51 World Series.
And, for the most part, the identity of the cap culprit — as well as the cap's whereabouts for the three decades that followed — have remained a secret.
In a Yahoo! Sports exclusive, our own Steve Henson has learned that the cap was taken off Thomson's head by Bernard "Bus" Davies, a Giants fan who was 52 years old and owned a fabric design store in Manhattan at the time. That revelation was made by his grandson Jeff Eskin, who has placed the item up for bid with SCP Auctions.
"The meaning of the cap to me and my family is huge," Eskin said. "We are avid sports fans. I recognize the significance of Bobby's home run and its meaning to those who were alive then."
Eskin said that his father held Giants season tickets for 27 years and that Davies obtained the cap in a moment of elation, not malice. His seats were near a gate that umpires used to leave the field and the location gave him easy access to reach the mob that engulfed Thomson as he crossed home plate.
Eskin points out that you can even see Davies rubbing Thomson's exposed head in one of the Associated Press photos from that day.
Davies held onto the cap, even though he was heartbroken when Giants owner Horace Stoneham moved the team to California in 1958. He later offered to sell the cap to Thomson for $10,000 when he saw him at a golf tournament in Las Vegas — "You're the one who has my cap!" Thomson reportedly said — but the Giants star declined to buy it.
Davies then gifted the cap to his grandson after Eskin graduated from Yale and entered law school in 1975. Eskin hung the cap on a nail on a wall in his apartment and it remained there until a friend saw it, learned about its history and ordered him to put it in a safe deposit box.
In 1984, Eskin and his wife made the decision to loan the cap to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown where it was displayed alongside the bat that Thomson used and the spikes he wore. It remained there until January of this year.
Bus Davies died in the mid-'80s and Thomson passed away in 2010. Soon another owner will come along and become the fourth person to own the famous hat. There's likely no shortage of old and rich New Yorkers who fondly remember The Shot Heard 'Round The World and would like to get their hands on the cap.
And if someone wins the cap with the desire to wear it around on their own head — David Wells-Babe Ruth style — they can do so with the knowledge that it might not have touched anyone's dome since it left Thomson's. Despite owning it for all these years, Eskin says he's never felt the urge to try it on himself.
- Bobby Thomson