On October 8th of 1956, during game 5 of the 1956 World Series, in front of an audience of more than 60 thousand spectators, Don Larson pitched the first and only no hitter in the history of the World Series, and (as of today) only the sixth perfect game in the history of Major League Baseball.
Donald James Larsen was born on August 7th of 1929 in Michigan City, Indiana. His family moved to San Diego in 1944, when Don was 15. There, his mother worked as a housekeeper and his father was a salesman at a department store. Despite being offered several college basketball scholarships when he was at Point Loma High School, Larsen chose to play baseball instead, where he was noticed by a scout for the St. Louis Browns.
The scout signed Larsen on to play for the minor leagues in 1947, with a financially attractive signing bonus. When later asked why he signed on with the Browns instead of attending college, Larsen would reply, “I was never much with the studies.”
Don Larsen is a former Major League Baseball pitcher who made his MLB debut on April 18th of 1953. His career spanned from then until July 7th of 1967. His overall win loss record is 81-91, with an earned run average of 3.78, and 849 strikeouts.
Larsen, a right hander for the New York Yankees at the time of his accomplishment, pitched a picture perfect game, with no runs, no hits, no errors, and no batter reaching first base. Larsen led the Yankees to that year's pennant against the Brooklyn Dodgers. The World Series of 1956 would be the last all-New York World Series until 2000.
Despite his erratic play, Larsen's perfect game is still the only one in World Series history. In that game, Larsen retired 27 batters at the plate, including future Hall of Famers such as Roy Campanella, Pee Wee Reese, Jackie Robinson, Gil Hodges and Duke Snyder. The last batter of the game had been Dale Mitchell, a pinch hitter for the Dodgers. After watching the third strike sail over the center of home plate, the umpire called the game. The Yankees had won. Larsen had thrown 97 pitches.
However, Larsen's pitching was erratic. Before the 1956 World Series, Don Larsen was better known for his drinking than his ball playing. After the World Series, Larsen stayed in New York with the Yankees for three more years, until he was traded to the Kansas City A's for Roger Maris.
Altogether, Don Larsen pitched for seven Major League Baseball teams in his 15-year career. They were the St. Louis Browns / Baltimore Orioles, the New York Yankees, the Kansas City Athletics, the Chicago White Sox, the San Francisco Giants, the Houston Colt .45s / Houston Astros, and the Chicago Cubs.
After his retirement, Larsen spent 24 years working as a salesman for a San Jose paper company.
He is now retired, but still with us at the age of 87.