New York Yankees Pitcher Don Larsen Dies

Don Larsen
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New York Yankees Pitcher Don Larsen Dies

Don Larsen passed away at the age of 90 late Wednesday night. Larsen who pitched for the New York Yankees among other teams died of esophageal cancer and was in hospice care in Hayden, Idaho. Larsen’s son Scott has confirmed the death.

Perfect Game

Don Larsen will be most remembered for pitching the only perfect game in World Series history. On the morning of October 8th, 1956 Larsen found a baseball in his shoe. Yankees manager Casey Stengel had put the ball there to inform Larsen he would be starting Game 5 later that day.

The series was knotted at two games apiece against the then Brooklyn Dodgers and Larsen admitted he was shocked he was getting the ball that day. But he made Stengel look like a genius. Larsen threw only 97 pitches and had one three-ball count all game long. Larsen struck out seven batters including the last batter looking. This produced one of the most memorable images in baseball history. After the final out catcher, Yogi Berra jumped on Larsen and gave him a bear hug.

Larsen’s Career

Don Larsen’s career was average at best. He had an 81-91 record with a 3.78 ERA and a 1.400 WHIP. In 1,548 innings Larsen struck out 849 batters. But no one can take away his greatness from that faithful night. Larsen’s perfect game is still the only one in postseason history.

After the 1954 season, Larsen who was pitching for the Baltimore Orioles went 3-21 and was traded as part of a 17 player trade to the Yankees. Larsen was then traded by the Yankees after the 1959 season. That trade made with the then Kansas City Athletics brought Roger Maris to the Bronx.

Final Thoughts

Larsen’s perfecto was the first of three in Yankees’ history. David Cone and David Wells pitcher the other two and both had ties to Larsen’s game. Cone’s perfect game memorable as it occurred on Yogi Berra day with Larsen watching the game from the press box. Wells and Larsen both attended Point Loma High School in San Diego. Cone tweeted out this picture after Larsen’s death was announced.

Aside from his son Scott, Don Larsen is survived by his wife of 62 years, Corrine and his daughter-in-law Nancy. Larsen also has two grandchildren Justin and Cody.