HAYDEN, ID—Don Larsen, the only pitcher to pitch a perfect game for the New York Yankees during the 1956 World Series, died on Wednesday, January 1, of esophageal cancer at the age of 90.
Larsen was born August 7, 1929 in Michigan City, Indiana, but later moved with his family to San Diego where he played both basketball and baseball in high school. He was later signed by the St. Louis Browns. After two minor league seasons, Larsen hurt his arm and spent two years in the Army. In 1953, the New York Yankees insisted Larsen be included in a 17-man trade that secured his stay in New York.
Larsen pitched in Game 2 of the 1956 World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers, but was not successful in getting the win. He was shocked to see a baseball in his shoe when he arrived at Yankee Stadium on the day of Game 5, knowing this meant he would start the historic game.
Larsen struck out seven batters in just 97 pitches. Other big names who played during this historic game include Pee Wee Reese, Jackie Robinson, Mickey Mantle, and Yogi Berra. The Yankees won the World Series in seven games, beating the Dodgers. He retired in 1967 with an 81-91 record in 14 major league seasons.
“The world is less ‘perfect’ today. Don Larsen, the only man to pitch a perfect game in World Series history, is gone. Goodbye, my friend. We will miss you!”, tweeted Andrew Levy, Larson’s agent, Wednesday evening.
Larsen is survived by his son, Scott, his wife of 62 years, Corrine, daughter-in-law Nancy, and grandsons Justin and Cody.