NY Sports Day

Before and After Don Larsen

Sandy Koufax didn’t do it. Greg Maddux didn’t do it. Randy Johnson, Steve Carlton, Tom Seaver, and Pedro Martinez never did it. Negative for Jim Palmer and Juan Marichal, the Dominican Dandy. Warren Spahn won 363 games but he didn’t do it. Two of the greatest post season pitchers of all time, Whitey Ford and Bob Gibson, didn’t do it either.
 
Consider that Grover Cleveland Alexander, Lefty Grove, and Walter Johnson never did it, nor did Cy Young. Even Christy Mathewson, the man who threw 3 shutouts in the 1905 World Series for the then-New York Giants against the then-Philadelphia A’s, never did it either.
 
And all these hurlers are all Hall of Famers who starred in MLB’s fall classic, racking up world series games, victories, strikeouts. But none of them did what Don Larsen did.
 
With an 81-91 record, Don Larsen will never make the Hall of Fame, and yet pitching a perfect game on the highest stage could easily be the single greatest feat ever accomplished on a Major League baseball diamond.  Long live Don Larsen.
 
27 up. 27 down. It was a rivalry between the two greatest teams of the era, or of any era. Powerhouse Yankees of Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, Moose Skowron, Hank Bauer, Elston Howard, Billy Martin and Phil Rizzuto, against the powerhouse Brooklyn Dodgers of Duke Snider, Roy Campanella, Gil Hodges, Pee Wee Reese and Carl Furillo and of course Jackie Robinson. Memories of Mantle homering and Dale Mitchell pinch hitting and looking at a called third strike called by Babe Pinelli.
 
In all, thirteen Hall of Famers were in that World Series but none accomplished what Don Larsen did on October 8, 1956 after his usual night of partying.
 
And to magnify the accomplishment of a perfect game, one has to appreciate that Larsen’s gem for the ages was also the only perfect game in the majors… not just that year or that decade… but it was the only perfect game in the 42 years between April 30, 1922…and Jim Bunning’s perfecto against the Mets, June 21, 1964!
 
Thanks for memories Don Larsen.


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