Don Larsen, Yankees legend, passes away at age 90

Former Major League pitcher of 14 seasons, five of which were with the New York Yankees, Don Larsen has passed away on the first day of 2020, at the age of 90. Larsen was most widely known for pitching the first, and only, perfect game in World Series history for the Yankees in 1956. 
Photo Credit: AP


According to the New York Times write-up on his life, Larsen was “an otherwise ordinary pitcher who achieved the extraordinary.”  Before his World Series perfection, the Major Leagues had not witnessed a perfect game for 34 years, in the regular season or in the postseason. 

On the 1956 regular season, Larsen’s record was 11-6.  He started Game Two of the 1956 World Series only to be taken out of the game in the second inning.  But going into Game Five, the World Series was tied at two games for the Yankees and two games for their rival, the Brooklyn Dodgers.  Larsen found out he was called to the mound when he arrived at the stadium for Game Five.  By the seventh inning of that game, Larsen still did not realize he had a perfect game going (but was aware that he had a no-hitter through seven).  Once the game was over, he still wasn’t aware that he recorded a perfect game until he retired to the clubhouse.

Larsen went on to pitch for the Kansas City Athletics, the San Francisco Giants, the Houston Colt .45s and the Chicago Cubs after the Yankees traded him after the 1959 season.  At the time of his death, he was in the process of undergoing treatment for esophageal cancer, which he was diagnosed with in the summer of 2019, according to his son, Scott. 

Article by: Mary Grace Donaldson

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