Don Larsen, a journeyman pitcher finest remembered for throwing the one excellent recreation in World Series history as a member of the New York Yankees, has died, a spokesman introduced late Wednesday. He was 90 years outdated.
“The world is much less ‘excellent’ right now,” tweeted Larsen rep Andrew Levy. “Don Larsen, the one man to pitch an ideal recreation in World Collection historical past, is gone. Goodbye, my buddy. We’ll miss you!” Levy advised the Related Press that Larsen had died of esophageal most cancers in Hayden, Idaho.
Larsen pitched for seven completely different groups throughout a 14-year profession within the massive leagues, compiling a document of 81 wins and 91 losses. In 1954, he went 3-21 whereas making 28 begins for the Baltimore Orioles, who had simply moved east from St. Louis and been rechristened from the Browns.
However on Oct. 8, 1956, Larsen ensured his place in baseball immortality. Taking the mound for the Yankees in essential Sport 5 of the World Collection in opposition to the Brooklyn Dodgers, Larsen outdueled Brooklyn starter Sal Maglie by retiring all 27 batters he confronted. Larsen struck out seven Dodgers within the 2-Zero Yankees win, throwing simply 97 pitches and solely going to 3 balls on a batter as soon as.
The picture of catcher Yogi Berra leaping into Larsen’s arms after the ultimate out is among the most iconic within the sport’s historical past.
“When Yogi Berra jumped on me and grabbed with the bear hug, my thoughts went fully clean,” Larsen wrote in his autobiography. “I used to be beneath pleasant assault … I used to be swept into the dugout.”
“We’re devastated to listen to of the lack of Don Larsen,” the Yogi Berra Museum and Studying Heart tweeted late Wednesday. “Don was an unbelievable teammate, buddy, and man. In our eyes, he was excellent.”
The Yankees gained the 1956 World Collection in seven video games whereas Larsen, who had began Sport 2 of the collection however had been chased within the second inning in an eventual Yankees loss, was named MVP of the Fall Basic. He gained a second title with New York in 1958. The next 12 months, Larsen was traded to the Kansas Metropolis Athletics as a part of a seven-player deal that netted the Yankees slugger Roger Maris.
Larsen additionally pitched for the Chicago White Sox, San Francisco Giants, Houston Colt .45s (now Astros) and Chicago Cubs earlier than retiring following the 1967 season. He later labored as a liquor salesman and paper firm govt.
Greater than 4 a long time after his World Collection excellent recreation, Larsen threw yet another pitch to Berra from the Yankee Stadium mound. This time, Larsen threw a ceremonial first pitch to mark Yogi Berra Day on July 18, 1999. Yankees starter David Cone then took the mound and proceeded to throw an ideal recreation in opposition to the Montreal Expos.
Born Aug. 7, 1929, in Michigan Metropolis, Ind., Larsen moved along with his household to San Diego, the place he went to Level Luma Excessive Faculty, the alma mater of one other excellent recreation pitcher, David Wells. Larsen performed basketball and baseball and was signed by the St. Louis Browns for a $500 bonus and $150 a month.
After two minor league seasons, Larsen damage his arm after which spent two years within the Military. He was promoted to the Browns in 1953 and moved with the workforce to Baltimore the next 12 months. He struggled by way of his 3-21 season however two of the wins have been in opposition to the Yankees, who insisted on Larsen’s inclusion within the 18-player commerce that additionally introduced pitching star Bob Turley to New York.
Larsen began 1955 with the Yankees farm workforce in Denver, the place he went 9-1 and developed the no-windup supply. Promoted to the Yankees halfway by way of the season, he completed 9-2 for New York. Larsen went 11-5 the following season and loved the occasion ambiance of the Yankees, typically operating with Mantle, Billy Martin and Whitey Ford of their late-night rounds of town. On the evening earlier than his excellent recreation, he had been out in town, believing he was not in supervisor Casey Stengel’s plans for the following day.
However when he reached Yankee Stadium on the morning of Oct. 8, he discovered a baseball in his shoe, the sign from Stengel that he would begin Sport 5.
“I have to admit I used to be shocked,” Larsen wrote in his autobiography. “I knew I needed to do higher than the final time, maintain the sport shut and in some way give our workforce an opportunity to win. Casey was betting on me, and I used to be decided to not let him down this time.”
Larsen pitched in three different World Collection. He gained Sport 2 of the 1957 collection in opposition to Hank Aaron and the Milwaukee Braves however misplaced the decisive Sport 7. He shut out the Braves 4-Zero on six hits in Sport Three of the 1958 collection, when New York beat Milwaukee 4-3, and was again within the 1962 matchup with the Giants. Pitching in opposition to the Yankees on Oct. 8, the sixth anniversary of his excellent recreation, he gained in reduction at Yankee Stadium.
No different pitcher has thrown an ideal recreation within the postseason, however in 2010 the Phillies’ Roy Halladay pitched a no-hitter in opposition to the Cincinnati Reds through the Nationwide League Division Collection. “They can never break my record,” Larsen would say of his recreation. “The best they can do is tie it. October 8, 1956, was a mystical trip through fantasyland. Sometimes I still wonder whether it really all happened.”
The Related Press contributed to this report.