Historic Baseball

Historic Baseball

Bringing Baseball History To Center Field

Don LarsenDon James LarsenBorn: Aug. 7, 1929 in Michigan City, Ind. Debut: 1953 | Pos: PHt: 6’4″ | Wt: 227 | B: R | T: RYrs G IP W L Sv SO ERA14 412 1548 81 91 23 849 3.78>> Visit the Don Larsen biography on Baseball Almanac for complete statistics.The pitching career of Don Larsen can be seen in one game on one day in an incredible World Series. On Oct. 8, 1956, Larsen was as close to perfect as any pitcher can be and he chose the most important series in baseball to have his shining moment.Larsen finished his pitching career with an 81-91 record and a 3.78 earned run average in 14 seasons. In 1956, Larsen was just 11-5 with the New York Yankees, posting a 3.26 earned run average. In the second game of the 1956 World Series, he had been chased out in second inning. Then, something happened in Game 5.Larsen faced Sal Maglie of the Dodgers in an historic pitching duel. Larsen set down 27 Dodgers in a row to get a win for the Yankees, 2-0. It was the only perfect game to ever be thrown in a World Series. Dale Mitchell was the last batter to face Larsen. He was called out by the umpire on a called strike three. Mitchell thought the ball was outside but he didn’t get a chance to argue. As soon as the strike was called, catcher Yogi Berra ran on the field and jumped into Larsen’s arms as the celebration began.Larsen’s first season in the Major League was in 1953 with the St. Louis Browns. He finished with a 7-12 record on a team that finished with a 54-100 record. The next season, the Brown moved to Baltimore and Larsen put together one of the worst pitching seasons on record. Larsen pitched to a 3-21 record and a 4.37 earned run average on a team that also finished 54-100.Larsen came to New York after the 1955 season as part of an 18-player deal. Larsen had the reputation of loving parties and in spring training 1956, Larsen crashed his car into a telephone pole.Manager Casey Stengel said, “He was probably mailing a letter.”In 1956, he had posted an 11-5 record. The 11 wins in a season were his career high. Larsen used a no-windup delivery. In 1957, he finished 10-4 with the Yankees, appearing in 27 games and starting in 20. In 1958, Larsen appeared in 19 games for the Yankees and finished with a 9-6 record. The next season, he finished 6-7 on a Yankees team that finished in last place. In the offseason, the Yankees made a number of deals, including trading Larsen to the Kansas City Athletics in a deal that brought Roger Maris to New York.Larsen’s first season with the Athletics was far less than successful. Larsen posted a 1-10 record and an earned run average greater than 5. He pitched just 15 innings for the Athletics in 1961 before being sent to the White Sox. With Chicago, he posted a 7-2 record as a reliever.He was traded again in 1962. This time was traded to the Giants. After two seasons for the Giants in which he finished a combined 12-11, Larsen bounced around to several teams. His last shot in the Majors came in 1967 from the Chicago Cubs.As a batter, Larsen hit .242 in his career, but had 14 career home runs. He was also used 66 times in his career as a pinch hitter.