Don Larsen: The Baseball Player Who Threw a Perfect Game

Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series is one of the most iconic moments in baseball history. Learn more about the man who accomplished this amazing feat.

Don Larsen’s Early Life

Don Larsen was born on August 7, 1929, in Michigan City, Indiana. His father, George Larsen, was a semi-pro baseball player. His family moved around a lot when he was young, following his father’s career. Don started playing baseball when he was just six years old. When he was in high school, he was scouted by the New York Yankees.

Larsen’s family and childhood

Don Larsen was born in Michigan but grew up in San Diego, California, where his father worked as a machinist in a shipyard. His parents divorced when he was eight years old, and his father died soon afterwards. Larsen had two older brothers, but they were much older and not involved in his life. Larsen’s mother worked two jobs to support her family, and he often had to fend for himself. He began drinking at an early age and got into trouble with the law on several occasions.

Larsen’s early interest in baseball

Larsen said that his father introduced him to baseball, and he played catch with his father and brothers in the street outside their house. Larsen also played sandlot ball in San Diego as a youth. He said that while he did not excel at sports in high school, he enjoyed playing baseball. Larsen attended Point Loma High School in San Diego, where he played baseball and basketball. After graduating from high school, Larsen signed a professional contract with theSt. Louis Browns organization in 1945.

Larsen’s Baseball Career

Don Larsen was a professional baseball player who pitched for seven different teams during his career. He is best known for throwing a perfect game during the 1956 World Series. Larsen retired from baseball in 1969 with a record of 96-106.

Larsen’s minor league career

Larsen’s minor league career began in 1948. He played for Class-D clubs in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, compiling a 6-7 win-loss record with a 4.16 earned run average (ERA) in 22 games started. In 1949, he was promoted to Class-A, playing for the Clinton Pilots in the Western League. Larsen struggled with the Pilots, posting a 6-12 record with a 5.51 ERA in 28 games (19 starts).

Larsen’s time with the Yankees

Larsen first joined the Yankees in 1954. Prior to his time with the Yankees, Larsen had been traded several times and had never really found a home with any team. However, that all changed when he was united with Yogi Berra. The two of them had an amazing amount of chemistry and they quickly became one of the most formidable duos in baseball history.

Larsen spent most of his time with the Yankees as a starting pitcher but he also did have some success as a relief pitcher. In 1955, he was named an All-Star for the first time in his career. He would go on to be named an All-Star two more times in his career (1956 and 1957).

Larsen was a key member of the Yankees teams that won back-to-back World Series titles in 1956 and 1957. In fact, it was during the 1957 World Series when Larsen would pitch one of the most famous games in baseball history.

Larsen’s perfect game

Don Larsen holds a very special place in baseball history – he’s the only player to ever throw a perfect game in the World Series. On October 8th, 1956, Larsen took the mound for game 5 of the series against the powerful Brooklyn Dodgers. He proceeded to retire all 27 batters he faced, becoming an instant legend.

It was an incredible accomplishment, made all the more impressive by the fact that Larsen was not even one of the Yankees’ best pitchers. He was a journeyman who had been traded several times and was only in New York because another player had been injured. But on that October day, he rose to the occasion and delivered one of the most unforgettable performances in baseball history.

Larsen’s Post-Baseball Life

After Don Larsen’s retirement from baseball in 1969, he worked in various jobs, including as a color commentator, a sales representative, and a greeter at a casino. In the 1990s, Larsen began to struggle with alcoholism and his health began to decline. In 2014, Larsen’s family revealed that he had been diagnosed with dementia.

Larsen’s life after baseball

Larsen continued to work in various capacities in the game of baseball after retirement as a player. In 1967, he became a color commentator for the San Francisco Giants. He also operated a baseball youth camp in Granville, New York for several years.

Larsen battled alcoholism and depression throughout his post-baseball life. In 1976, he was involved in a near-fatal car accident that left him with permanent scars. Larsen eventually overcame his addiction and depression, and in 1987 he published his autobiography, The Perfect Yankee.

Larsen died on January 1, 2020, at the age of 90.

Larsen’s legacy

Don Larsen, who died on January 1 at the age of 90, was best known for pitching a perfect game in the 1956 World Series. But his life after baseball was just as fascinating.

Larsen went on to work as a commercial fisherman, ao he could be out on the open sea like he was used to as a professional ballplayer. He also had stints as a real estate agent, a car salesman, and a hunting and fishing guide. In his later years, he became an outspoken advocate for Alzheimer’s research and awareness.

Larsen’s perfect game was truly a remarkable achievement, but his post-baseball life was just as impressive. He will be remembered not only for his baseball accomplishments but also for his work off the field.

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