We’re back with another edition of “Top 10 Games of All Time“. Last game, we shone the spotlight on a pitcher, Johnny Vander Meer. For Number Six, a new pitcher will step into the spotlight. That pitcher is Don Larsen of the New York Yankees for his game in the 1956 World Series. Let’s get into it.
6. 1956 World Series Game 5: Don Larsen’s Perfect Game
The 1956 World Series featured the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers, two teams within 30 minutes of each other. The Yankees had won 97 games during the regular season, and boasted a killer lineup that included Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Enos Slaughter and future manager Billy Martin. The Dodgers featured legends of their own in Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese and Duke Snider. The Yankees sent Larsen to the hill for Game Five, and the Dodgers sent out Sal “The Barber” Maglie.
Slow Start for Both Sides
Coming into this game, the offenses on paper and on the field were elite. They were chock-full of guys who are now Hall of Famers. But when Larsen and Maglie took the hill, it was their show to start it off. They both threw three perfect innings, not allowing a baserunner. There were a combined seven popouts between the two teams in three innings. Larsen stayed locked in the whole entire time, while Maglie couldn’t keep up.
The first run of the game came courtesy of legend Mickey Mantle when he homered down the right field line. That gave Larsen all the cushion he needed that day. He kept mowing down Dodgers as he carved through a lineup that had scored more than 5.3 runs per game that year. The scoring ceased again until the sixth inning, when Hank Bauer drove in another run on a base hit. Maglie wiggled out of that inning when he got Mantle to bounce into a double play.
Time to Make History
As the game wore on, it was evident that fans were witnessing something extraordinary. To put it in perspective, there have only been 23 total Perfect Games in baseball history. No pitcher has ever thrown more than one, and Don Larsen holds the only Perfect Game in World Series History. Throwing a Perfect Game is tough enough, but doing it in a pivotal game where the series is tied 2-2? That’s crazy.
The scoring ceased after the Yankees scored their second run. Larsen continued to mow down batters while Maglie pitched a very good game himself. In the bottom of the eighth, Maglie even struck out the side. The comeback wasn’t to be, though. Larsen got Carl Furillo to weakly fly out to right field. He got the legendary Roy Campanella on a 4-3 putout. Finally, Dale Mitchell pinch hit for Maglie, and on a 1-2 count, Larsen caught Mitchell looking to end the game and secure the only Perfect Game in World Series history.
Don Larsen’s incredible feat is one of the toughest feats in baseball. You’d likely have a better chance to catch lightning in a bottle than witness a perfect game in the regular season, let alone the World Series! With that said, this has been Number Six on the countdown.
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