Turn Back The Clock: October 8th, 1956-Don Larsen’s Perfect Game
By Billy Brost
Since the current incarnation of the New York Yankees aren’t participating in the postseason, there are plenty of nuggets of baseball history involving the Bronx Bombers. Today is no different. In what could be one of the top two or three postseason moments in baseball history, today marks the 58th anniversary of the only perfect game in World Series history. Yep, almost six decades later, Don Larsen‘s feat has yet to be replicated. Let’s revisit that magical day in the first of our “Turn Back The Clock” series here at Yanks Go Yard!
Mandatory Credit: Getty Images
Prior to the 2010 season, Larsen’s perfecto was the only no-hitter in postseason history, until the Philadelphia Phillies’ Roy Halladay threw one against the Cincinnati Reds. Larsen’s gem remains the only perfect game however. Larsen, a journeyman right-hander, had pitched earlier in the series, without success. Yankees’ manager Casey Stengel chose Larsen to pitch the second game, and he lasted only 1 2/3 innings, giving up four runs, none of which were earned. How did that happen you may ask? Four walks, a single base hit by the great Gil Hodges, and an error by Yankee first baseman Joe Collins, and the Bomber went down to their crosstown rival Brooklyn Dodgers by the final of 13-8.
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Larsen was once again tabbed by Stengel to take the bump, this time for Game 5 of the ’56 series. His opponent for Brooklyn? None other than Sal Maglie. To give you an idea of how good Maglie was, his nickname was “The Barber.” Over the span of the entire ballgame, Larsen reached a three-ball count only once, to Hall of Fame shortstop Pee Wee Reese. Larsen had to be as close to perfect as possible if the Yankees were going to bring home a win. The Barber only allowed two earned runs on five hits.
Thanks to the continued October greatness of Mickey Mantle, his fourth-inning solo home run gave the Yankees the lead, with the Bombers adding another run in the sixth inning. That was all the Yankees were going to need on this magical day. Larsen claimed he had never before or after had the type of control over his pitches that he had that fall afternoon in 1956. He tossed less than 100 pitches–97 to be exact, to finish off the Dodgers, and secure his place in baseball history for all eternity.
The perfect game was enough for Larsen to be awarded the World Series MVP that season, and for him, it was the highlight of a career that witnessed Larsen finish 10 games under .500 for his career. Another side note to Don Larsen, he was part of the deal that went from the Yankees along with Hank Bauer and Marv Throneberry and brought back another soon to be Yankee legend…Roger Maris.
On this October 8th, 2014, we at Yanks Go Yard wish Mr. Larsen the very best, as we celebrate his Game 5, 1956 World Series perfect game, tossed 58 years ago today!