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Don Larsen

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Don James Larsen

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[edit] Biographical Information

"Don Larsen used to pitch so slow it ought to have been equipped with backup lights." - Shirley Povich

Don Larsen was a rookie pitcher during the last season that the St. Louis Browns played in the city of St. Louis, MO in 1953 before leaving for Baltimore. He lost a great many games (33) for the club that year and in 1954 with the Baltimore Orioles before winning after joining the New York Yankees in 1955. Despite a 14-year career, he never won more than 11 games in any season.

Overall, Larsen was a sub-.500 pitcher and a 21-game loser in 1954, but he is most remembered for his 1956 World Series heroics. On October 8th, in Game 5 of the Series, he pitched a perfect game against the Brooklyn Dodgers. It was the only perfect game ever thrown in the postseason and remains as one of baseball's most noteworthy and defining historical moments.

It is not well remembered that Larsen had a long career, lasting until 1967. He played with Mickey Mantle on the Yankees from 1955 to 1959, with Willie Mays on the San Francisco Giants in 1962 and 1963, with Joe Morgan on the 1964 Houston Colt .45s, with Robin Roberts on the 1965 Orioles, and with Ernie Banks on the 1967 Chicago Cubs.

He not only pitched in four World Series for the Yankees, but he also appeared for the Giants in the 1962 World Series, winning a game against the Yankees. Larsen was a better-than-average hitter for a pitcher and cranked out 14 career homers and a .242 lifetime batting average. He also set a major league record for pitchers in 1953 with 7 straight hits!

He was Inducted into the Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005.

[edit] Notable Achievements

[edit] Further Reading

  • Roger Godin: "Not Quite Marching Through Georgia: Don Larsen and the Atlanta Crackers", in The Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Number 31, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE, 2003, pp. 93-94.
  • Don Larsen (as told to Al Doyle): "The Game I'll Never Forget", Baseball Digest, October 2003, pp. 54-57. [1]

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