Don Larsen, who pitched only perfect World Series game, dies at 90


Don Larsen, who pitched the only perfect game in World Series history, died Wednesday at the age of 90, his representative, Andrew Levy, tweeted Wednesday night.

Levy said the former pitcher died of esophageal cancer in Hayden, Idaho.

Larsen was a journeyman pitcher, playing for seven teams over a 14-year career while posting a lifetime 81-91 record, but on Oct. 8, 1956, while with the New York Yankees, he was as good as any pitcher has ever been.

In Game 5 of the World Series, Larsen pitched to 27 Brooklyn Dodgers batters, retiring pinch hitter Dale Mitchell on a called third strike and then bracing for catcher Yogi Berra’s leap into his arms. The Yankees went on to win that series in seven games.

Larsen was born on Aug. 7, 1929, and grew up in San Diego. He made his major league debut with the St. Louis Browns in 1953. He later joined the Yankees in 1955 as part of a 17-player trade.

Larsen had his best years with the Yankees, including a career-best 11 victories in 1956. But no one would have predicted his remarkable performance in the World Series that year. He had lost Game 2 of that series, lasting only 1⅔ innings in a 13-8 loss, but his unprecedented feat in Game 5 earned him the World Series MVP honor.

Larsen continued playing until 1967 but never again had that kind of success.

Larsen was connected to the two other perfect games in Yankees history, though.

He and David Wells, who threw a perfect game at Yankee Stadium in 1998, both attended Point Loma High School in San Diego.

And Larsen was in attendance when David Cone threw a perfect game against the Montreal Expos in 1999. Larsen was there as a special guest on Yogi Berra Day, throwing a ceremonial pitch to his former catcher.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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