“The Imperfect Man Pitches The Perfect Game!” was how one headline so aptly put it. On October 8th, 1956, the only perfect game ever pitched in the World Series was thrown by Don Larsen, which is why today is
NATIONAL PERFECT GAME DAY!
It was yet another World Series matchup between the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers, but this one was different because Brooklyn had finally beaten the Yanks and won a title the year before with their immortal “Boys of Summer” lineup.
They brought the same great team into the 1956 World Series, and were confident that they finally had the Yankees’ number and would hang another banner on Bedford Avenue.
Enter Don Larsen, a journeyman pitcher only 2 years removed from a 3 wins and 21 losses season in Baltimore, and whom the Dodgers had beaten up in the previous World Series, chasing him after only 4 innings.
Brooklyn had taken the first 2 games at home but lost Games 3 and 4 in the Bronx, figuring they’d whip Larsen again with the great Sal Maglie on the mound and return to Ebbets Field needing only a split of the final 2 games.
Yogi Berra was behind the plate for the Yanks, in perfect rhythm with Larsen, and no Dodger got on base, with Mickey Mantle’s solo home run in the 4th inning all the scoring they needed.
The tension was incredible, mounting as the game progressed, since the Dodgers fielded some of the best hitters in baseball against a pitcher they had beaten before.
When it was over, Yogi leapt into Larsen’s arms and baseball history was made, and not equaled since. Larsen did not go on to have a great career and was gone from the Yankees to the lowly Kansas City Athletics by 1960, but for that one day, in the biggest big time sports arena of them all, Yankee Stadium, Don Larsen was perfect.
•Suggested Activities: Letting the game unfold.