Yankees History

On this day in Yankees history – Don Larsen’s perfect World Series game

New York Yankees' catcher Yogi Berra leaps into the arms of pitcher Don Larsen after Larsen struck out the last Brooklyn Dodgers' batter to complete his perfect game during the fifth game of the World Series, Oct. 8, 1956. Racing up in the background is Joe Collins. (AP Photo)

Yogi Berra leaps into the arms of pitcher Don Larsen after Larsen struck out the last Brooklyn Dodgers’ batter to complete his perfect game during the fifth game of the World Series, Oct. 8, 1956. (AP Photo)

On this day back in 1956: Game 5 of the World Series, Don Larsen was on the mound taking on the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was in his second year with the team since coming over from the Orioles, and pitched the only perfect game in World Series history. It would remain the only postseason no hitter for 54 years until Roy Halladay threw a no-no in the 2010 NLDS.

Larsen had started Game 2 of the Series, and it it was a much different outing. Despite being given a 6-0 lead by his offense, he lasted only 1 2/3 innings in a 13-8 loss. He only gave up one hit, a single by Gil Hodges, but walked four leading to four runs.

He was working in an uncharacteristic no windup style in Game 5, and there were many close calls. The most memorable being Hodges’ fifth inning line drive toward left-center. Luckily Mickey Mantle made a spectacular running catch to preserve the perfecto. It took him 97 pitches to make history, and only Pee Wee Reese in the first inning got to a three ball count.

A reporter asked Yankees’ manager Casey Stengel if this was the best game Larsen had ever pitched, he answered, “So far!”

The Yanks won the game 2-0 on the way to their 17th World Series Championship. Larsen was named Series MVP and won the Babe Ruth Award. It was the first (and until 1998 the only) perfect game by a Yankee.

 

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