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Don Larsen, 90, World Series perfect game
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That Derek
2020-01-02 03:18:58 UTC
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https://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/ny-don-larsen-obituary-20200102-i22va4zqobadbe77lmn4hsrfmy-story.html

Sorry. The NY Daily News has a pay-wall.

Would somebocy please rejoinder?
Matthew Kruk
2020-01-02 03:23:12 UTC
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Post by That Derek
https://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/ny-don-larsen-obituary-20200102-i22va4zqobadbe77lmn4hsrfmy-story.html
Sorry. The NY Daily News has a pay-wall.
Would somebocy please rejoinder?
Don Larsen, who pitched only perfect game in World Series history, dies at 90
By Bill Madden
New York Daily News |
Jan 01, 2020 | 9:41 PM
Don Larsen, 90, has passed away from cancer of the esophagus.

By his own admission, Don Larsen was a most imperfect fellow and therefore about
the unlikeliest man to ever pitch the only perfect game in World Series history.
But pitch it he did, on October 8, 1956, a 97-pitch, 2-0 gem in Game 5 that gave
the Yankees a 3-2 lead in the Series against the Dodgers and set them up for
winning their sixth world championship in eight years under manager Casey
Stengel.

Larsen, 90, died Wednesday in hospice in Hayden, Idaho, of esophageal cancer, a
party guy to the end who achieved baseball immortality that one sun-splashed
autumn afternoon at Yankee Stadium despite an otherwise mediocre 81-91 pitching
career with seven different major league teams from 1953-67. As it was, Larsen
didn't even think he was getting the ball that day after having been lifted by
Stengel in the second inning of Game 2 of the Series because of control
problems. He had given up only one hit in that game and was leading 6-1, but he'd
walked four batters and the Yankees went on to lose, 13-8. Afterward, Larsen
fumed to reporters: "I don't give a damn if I ever pitch another game for the
Yankees or Stengel again! I go out there and break my neck? For what? He had no
business taking me out of there! That's the last time I'll get to bed early. I'm
gonna start enjoying life again."

Nevertheless, Stengel, who shrugged off Larsen's diatribe, opted to give the big
righthander - whose Yankee teammates dubbed "Gooney Bird" because of his flaky
nature - a second chance three days later in Game 5, passing up 18-game winner
Johnny Kucks (who went on to pitch the 9-0 Game 7 clincher). Whether it was just
hunch on the part of Stengel - who secretly had a fondness for Larsen because of
his own penchant for late-night imbibing - the prodigal pitcher vowed to make
good for his manager. "I'll show 'em all," he said when Stengel announced the
day before Larsen would be starting Game 5. "Don't be surprised if I pitch a
no-hitter too."
Yankees' Don Larsen pitched a perfect game in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series
against the Brooklyn Dodgers, the only perfect game thrown in World Series
history, earning him the MVP award.
Yankees' Don Larsen pitched a perfect game in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series
against the Brooklyn Dodgers, the only perfect game thrown in World Series
history, earning him the MVP award. (AP)

It was an oft-handed boast made jokingly to a handful of reporters, but one that
Larsen more than made good on. Reverting to a "no-wind-up" delivery he had
fashioned during the '56 season (in which he'd been 11-5 as a starter and long
reliever), he baffled the Dodgers all day and out-dueled veteran Sal Maglie,
2-0, striking out seven. About the only hard-hit ball the Dodgers had in the
game was Gil Hodges' one-out fly to deep left center in the fifth inning on
which Mickey Mantle made a running, one-hand catch. Indeed, Larsen went to three
balls on only one batter - Pee Wee Reese in the first - and when he got veteran
pinch hitter Dale Mitchell on a half-swing third strike to end the game, Yankee
catcher Yogi Berra rushed out from behind the plate and jumped into his arms in
what became an iconic picture.

Daily News Yankee beat writer Joe Trimble, in a lead borrowed from News'
columnist Dick Young, wrote simply: "The imperfect man pitched a perfect game
yesterday" while Shirley Povich of the Washington Post was a bit more elaborate
in summing up the improbable turn of events: "The million-to-one shot came in. A
month of Sundays hit the calendar, Hell froze over. Don Larsen pitched the first
perfect game in World Series history."

"Hodges' ball would have probably been a home run in most other parks," Larsen
said later. "Mickey wasn't the greatest fielder, but he had the speed to out-run
most balls that hung in the air like that one did."

Though, contrary to myth, he had not stayed out late the night prior to the
game, Larsen partied big time after it with his pal, Arthur Richman, a
sportswriter for the New York Mirror. When Richman called the Copacabana for a
reservation for seven he was told they were booked up. However, upon the mention
that Larsen was part of the party, the Copa set up a separate table right in
front where the group became part of comedian Joe E. Lewis' show that night.

That winter, Yankee general manager George Weiss sent Larsen a contract calling
for a $1,500 raise off his $12,000 salary in '56. Larsen, furious, sent it back
to Weiss with a note: "If you will forget you ever sent me this, I'll forget I
ever got it." He wound up settling for $16,000 and lasted with the Yankees for
three more seasons before being traded to the Kansas City A's, Dec. 12, 1959,
along with outfielders Hank Bauer and Norm Siebern and first baseman Marv
Throneberry in the deal that brought Roger Maris to the Bronx.
Yogi Berra, left, Sal Maglie and Don Larsen in Sept. 1956 in the clubhouse after
the New York Yankees acquired Maglie was from the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Yogi Berra, left, Sal Maglie and Don Larsen in Sept. 1956 in the clubhouse after
the New York Yankees acquired Maglie was from the Brooklyn Dodgers. (Fred
Morgan/New York Daily News)

Larsen, who went to the same Point Lomas high school in San Diego as another
future perfect game pitcher for the Yankees (and fellow free spirit), David
Wells, was signed originally by the St. Louis Browns, breaking into the majors
with a 7-12 record in 1953. The following season, the Browns moved to Baltimore,
re-incarnated as the Orioles, and Larsen led the American League losses with a
3-21 mark. That, however, did not deter the Yankees from acquiring him that
winter as part of a mammoth 17-player trade which also netted them the Orioles'
ace pitcher, Bob Turley.

Though he never won more than the 11 games in 1956, Larsen bounced around the
majors as a reliever until 1967 and got into three more World Series, including
1962 with the San Francisco Giants in which he got the win in relief in Game 4
against the Yankees. Larsen, who was 4-2 with a 2.75 ERA in 10 World Series
games, was also a proficient hitter. Often used by Stengel as a pinch hitter or
in the No. 8 spot in the lineup when he pitched, Larsen had a .242 lifetime
average with 14 homers including a grand slam against the Red Sox in 1956.

Fifty years later at a Yankee Stadium commemoration of his immortal feat, Larsen
said: "I knew at the time it was a big deal. I never thought it was still be so
important this much time later. If you have to be remembered for one thing,
though, I guess that's a pretty good thing to be remembered for."
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Bryan Styble
2020-01-02 04:20:07 UTC
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Oh dear!

I gather the late Larsen was a sterling fellow by all accounts...and I bet John Sterling would second that emotion. And of course the photo of Lawrence Berra just having leapt into Larsen's arms that memorable late Monday afternoon in The Bronx remains one of the half-dozen or so most indelible images MLB has ever produced.

That said, this is probably an absolutely lousy time to bring this up again here (or anywhere), but I've long contended that the term "perfect game" is a serious misnomer.

Never mind that attaining one is dependent upon others' fielding, unlike the no-hitter. But as long as any of the 27 batters retired by the so-called perfect pitcher makes contact with the ball, I argue it is a decidedly IMperfect pitching performance. That's why I've long been a voice cryin' in the wilderness campaigning for it to be instead termed a "runnerless" game.

And the defensive imperfections in alleged perfect games are not limited to opposing hitters making contact, foul or fair.

For need I remind any of ya'll MLB aficionados herein that the sainted* Sanford Koufax hurled not only one but in fact TWO wild pitches during his sole so-called perfect game--at home against the Cubs, on Thursday evening, September 9, 1965...

...a 1-0 game WHICH, as it quite coincidentally happened that late summer, generated all the expected media hubbub for the ever-popular lefty BUT IN THE PROCESS all but completely drowned out coverage of a certain American League game the very night before.

And for my money, that sparsely-attended Wednesday night contest featured perhaps the MOST REMARKABLE PERFORMANCE IN MAJOR LEAGUE HISTORY...even though this extra-inning, not-at-all-perfect game** ended up being a losing effort for the, uh, pitcher in question.

BRYAN STYBLE/Florida
_________________________________________________
* Yeah, that's an adjectivally infelicitous modifier for a Jewish athlete, for sure.
** Come on, all you baseball brainiacs, I surely can't be the ONLY guy who still often thinks back to this particular, vastly-less remembered late-season game better than a thousand miles distant from Dodger Stadium; heck, I actually think there should be a small display in the Baseball Hall of Fame commemorating it!
MJ Emigh
2020-01-02 19:25:52 UTC
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Post by Bryan Styble
But as long as any of the 27 batters retired by the so-called perfect pitcher makes contact with the ball, I argue it is a decidedly IMperfect pitching performance.
Nope. Sorry, Bryan. I'm one of those rare guys who always agrees with you, but not this time. Pitchers often throw pitches meant to be hit poorly. As an example, think of all those broken bats that Mo Rivera caused over the years. A ball like that is a lot easier to field. Of course, a strikeout is the goal, but if that's not possible, don't let be hit in a way that can hurt you. Throw it as a typical unhitable pitch and if some guy is lucky enough to hit what he can't see, a broken bat will likely make the ball dribble along in a way that a Little League kid could grab it. Again......sorry, Bryan.
Peter Cooper
2020-01-02 21:49:05 UTC
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Post by Bryan Styble
Oh dear!
I gather the late Larsen was a sterling fellow by all accounts...and I bet John Sterling would second that emotion. And of course the photo of Lawrence Berra just having leapt into Larsen's arms that memorable late Monday afternoon in The Bronx remains one of the half-dozen or so most indelible images MLB has ever produced.
That said, this is probably an absolutely lousy time to bring this up again here (or anywhere), but I've long contended that the term "perfect game" is a serious misnomer.
Never mind that attaining one is dependent upon others' fielding, unlike the no-hitter. But as long as any of the 27 batters retired by the so-called perfect pitcher makes contact with the ball, I argue it is a decidedly IMperfect pitching performance. That's why I've long been a voice cryin' in the wilderness campaigning for it to be instead termed a "runnerless" game.
And the defensive imperfections in alleged perfect games are not limited to opposing hitters making contact, foul or fair.
For need I remind any of ya'll MLB aficionados herein that the sainted* Sanford Koufax hurled not only one but in fact TWO wild pitches during his sole so-called perfect game--
Please insert here whatever juvenile (or perhaps senile) response you have to the fact that an errant pitch is only a "wild pitch" if it allows a runner to advance.
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