October 8 not only marks Johnny Ramone’s birthday, but today is also the 50th Anniversay of the only perfect game pitched in World Series history. From the San Diego Union Tribune’s Kirk Kenney.
Yankees manager Casey Stengel sometimes didn’t decide on his starting pitcher until the morning of that day’s game. On such occasions, it became ritual for third base coach Frank Crosetti to place a ball in the pitcher’s spikes to let him know he was the starter. When Don Larsen walked into the Yankees clubhouse 50 years ago today, that is how he found out he was pitching Game 5 of the 1956 World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers.
On Oct. 8, 1956, Larsen pitched a perfect game “ the first in 34 years in the major leagues “ and the first and still the only no-hitter in postseason play. He did it in front of 64,519 breathless fans at Yankee Stadium, beating Brooklyn 2-0.
Who would have believed it? Not just that such a game would be pitched on such a stage but that the 27-year-old Larsen would be the one to do it.
Larsen led the AL in losses in 1954, when he went 3-21 for the Baltimore Orioles. Two of the wins came against the Yankees, perhaps one reason they traded for him in an 18-player deal before the 1955 season.
Newspapers characterized Larsen as a œplayboy and said he was œmore concerned for good times than good games. In The San Diego Union, sports editor Jack Murphy wrote that Larsen was a œpitcher previously known for living as though every day were New Year’s Eve.
Larsen doesn’t deny it.
œWhy, sure, I had a good time, Larsen, 77, said by phone from New York, where he spent several days this week making public appearances. œHow come everybody knows about it if they weren’t with me? Or is it they wished they were with me?