Don Larsen was born on Wednesday, August 7, 1929, in Michigan City, Indiana. Larsen was 23 years old when he broke into the big leagues on April 18, 1953, with the St. Louis Browns. His biographical data, year-by-year hitting stats, fielding stats, pitching stats (where applicable), career totals, uniform numbers, salary data and miscellaneous items-of-interest are presented by Baseball Almanac on this comprehensive Don Larsen baseball stats page.
"I didn't get nervous - my main object was to win the game. The thing I wanted to do was get out of the ninth inning. Once I mumbled a little prayer to myself. I said, 'Please help me get through this.' The only word said to me was by Yogi Berra . Yogi hit me in the seat of the pants and said, 'go out there and let's get the first batter.' I was pitching fast balls and sliders mostly. But mainly I had good control. I only shook off a couple of Yogi's signals, but he stuck with them, so I went ahead and pitched what he called. I'm glad of it." - Don Larsen in the Beckley Post-Herald (10/09/1956, 'Larsen in Daze Over Hurling Perfect Game', Page Ten) [ Don Larsen Quotes ]
Don Larsen Autograph on a 1962 Topps Baseball Card (#33 | Checklist )
Don Larsen Pitching Stats
Don Larsen Hitting Stats
Don Larsen Fielding Stats
|1961 White Sox||P||25||3||223||17||0.7||17||4||13||0||0||n/a||n/a||n/a||1.000||2.06|
|1964 Colt .45s||P||30||10||310||27||0.9||26||7||19||1||1||n/a||n/a||n/a||.963||2.26|
Don Larsen Miscellaneous Stats
|Baserunning Statistics||Other Positions||Common Hitting Ratios||Common Pitching Ratios|
|1961 White Sox||0||0||.000||0||0||n/a||25.0||5.0||6.3||1.83||6.42||3.51|
|1964 Colt .45s||0||0||.000||4||0||n/a||0.0||3.1||0.0||2.90||5.05||1.74|
Don Larsen Miscellaneous Items of Interest
|Team [Click for Roster]||Uniform Numbers||Salary||All-Star||World Series|
|1953 St. Louis Browns||27||Undetermined||-||-|
|1954 Baltimore Orioles||27||Undetermined||-||-|
|1955 New York Yankees||18||Undetermined||-||Stats|
|1956 New York Yankees||18||$13,000.00||-||Stats|
|1957 New York Yankees||18||$18,000.00||-||Stats|
|1958 New York Yankees||18||Undetermined||-||Stats|
|1959 New York Yankees||18||$16,500.00||-||-|
|1960 Kansas City Athletics||18||Undetermined||-||-|
|1961 Kansas City Athletics||18||Undetermined||-||-|
|1961 Chicago White Sox||26||Undetermined||-||-|
|1962 San Francisco Giants||18||Undetermined||-||Stats|
|1963 San Francisco Giants||18||Undetermined||-||-|
|1964 San Francisco Giants||18||Undetermined||-||-|
|1964 Houston Colt .45s||31||Undetermined||-||-|
|1965 Houston Astros||31||Undetermined||-||-|
|1965 Baltimore Orioles||18||$20,000.00||-||-|
|1967 Chicago Cubs||33||Undetermined||-||-|
|Don Larsen Stats by Baseball Almanac|
Did you know that the first New York Yankee to ever win a World Series Most Valuable Player Award was Don Larsen ( 1956 World Series )? Did you know that the day after Larsen threw the first perfect game in World Series history (and the first perfect game for the Bronx Bombers ), Joe DiMaggio penned the following news article for the International News Service wire:
What can an "expert" say about a perfectly pitched baseball game?
Not an awful lot, particularly when he knows that every sports reported and columnist in the country is commenting today on the beautiful job that Don Larsen turned in at the Stadium in the fifth World Series game .
So I'll merely content myself with saying that this was absolutely the best pitched game I've ever seen as player or spectator and that takes in some great pitchers and some wonderful pitching performances.
Two Other No-Hitters
I was in center-field when Monte Pearson threw his no-hitter against Detroit (it was against Cleveland) box ) and on the other side of the score when Bob Feller pitched that no-hitter for Cleveland against the Yankees right after the war.
Both were terrific pieces of work and I don't think a great pitcher like Feller hurled many better than this one in May, 1946 ( box ). Great as they were, however, they were eclipsed by the game Don Larsen put together at the Stadium Monday.
Don's was so fine, incidentally, right on top of route-going efforts by Whitey Ford and Tom Sturdivant , that it set the stage for the kind of "sudden death" battling we'll see in Ebbets Fields today - and Wednesday if a seventh game is necessary.
Nothing Held Back
I mean, both pitching staffs are rested and neither Casey Stengel nor Walt Alston will hold anything back from here on out. Just watch how they call on their very best to master the tough situations in the concluding game or games.
Everybody but Larsen and Maglie is on tap for the sixth game - and both will be in the bullpen Wednesday in case they can contribute anything to a showdown game.
You're liable to see starting pitchers in relief at any given moment if the situation so demands. I would be surprised if Casey even declined to hold Whitey Ford back for the seventh game if he thinks he sees a chance to wrap the whole thing up today.
Getting back to Larsen's perfect game, the unfortunate victim of his wizardry was a fellow who pitched a pretty good game himself. Sal Maglie gave another demonstration of the skill which causes him to be labeled the real "pro" of present-day pitchers.
Once again Brooklyn's inability to win games in the Yankee Stadium has hurt its chance of capturing a World Series from the Yankees. In six World Series since 1947, the Dodgers have won only six out of 19 games played and that goes a long way to explain why they've won only one World Series.
Backs to the Wall
Now they've got their backs against the Ebbets Field wall, where they have handled the Yankees without too much trouble during the last two years. I'm still sticking to my prediction that it will be the Yankees in six games.
On July 18, 1999 , David Cone threw a perfect game on Yogi Berra day in Yankee Stadium. The ceremonial first pitch was, coincidently, thrown out by no other than Don Larsen! Let's take a look, not at Cone's gem, but the one many fans consider the greatest single game in baseball history researched and written by author Rich Westcott ( RichWestcott.com / Rich Westcott Books ), original text from No-Hitters (McFarland, 02/15/2000, 'Don Larsen', Page 188):
After having been knocked out after one and two-thirds innings of the second game of the 1956 World Series , Don Larsen was something of a surprise started in Game Five on Monday October 8 at Yankee Stadium. With the Series tied at two games apiece, a packed house of 64,519 was on hand to watch Larsen face the defending world champion Dodgers and crafty hurler Sal Maglie , who had pitched a no-hitter just two weeks earlier against the Philadelphia Phillies.
What followed was not only a magnificent pitching duel, but the only perfect game ever pitched in the World Series and major league baseball's first perfect game in 34 years.
The fun-loving, 27-year-old Larsen, who in 1956 had his best regular season with an 11-5 record after recovering from a 4 a.m. spring training auto accident, used just 97 pitches to retire all 27 Dodgers, including seven on strikes. Meanwhile, Maglie gave up just give hits.
Employing a no-windup delivery and throwing mostly fastballs and hard sliders throughout, Larsen opened by striking out Jim Gilliam and Pee Wee Reese and getting Duke Snider on a liner to right. Jackie Robinson gave Larsen a scare leading off the second with a smash that ricocheted off the glove of third baseman Andy Carey . The ball bounced to shortstop Gil McDougald , whose throw to first beat the fleet Robinson by one step.
Eight Dodgers were retired on balls hit to the outfield. The biggest catch came in the fifth when Mickey Mantle raced far into left-center to make a backhanded catch of Gil Hodges ' hard drive to the alley. Sandy Amoros followed with a wicked shot to the right field stands that was foul by just one foot before grounding out to second to end the inning.
Mantle , who had given Larsen a 1-0 lead in the fourth and broken up Maglie's no-hitter with a clout to the right field stands, made another sparkling catch in the seventh on a one-out smash to deep center by Reese .
In the ninth, with the crowd on the edges of its seats and a national television audience hanging on every pitch, Larsen opened the inning by getting Carl Furillo on a flay ball to Hank Bauer in right on a 1-2 pitch. Roy Campanella then grounded a one-strike pitch to B Billy Martin at second for the second out.
The final out came with pinch-hitter Dale Mitchell at the plate. Larsen's first pitch was a ball. The dangerous Mitchell took a called strike, swung and missed at the next pitch, then poked a foul into the left field stands. The next pitch was a fastball on the outside corner, and Mitchell watched it go by as umpire Babe Pinelli called "strike three."
Catcher Yogi Berra raced to the mound where he jumped into the arms of the jubilant Larsen (image below) in a fitting end to the most spectacular game ever pitched.
Don Larsen and Yogi Berra | AP Wire - October 8, 1956 | Photoshop by Baseball Almanac, Inc.
Don Larsen pitched fifteen years with seven different teams, never won more than eleven games in a season any year he pitched, lost a league leading twenty-one games in 1954, and finished with a sub-.500 record. Larsen also played in five World Series, won two World Series rings, played alongside Hall of Famer's throughout his career, once had seven consecutive hits in seven consecutive at-bats setting a new record for pitchers (1953), and his perfect game was so amazing that the writers kept him on the ballot for fifteen years [1974 7.9%, 1975 - 6.4%, 1976 - 12.1%, 1977 - 10.2%, 1978 - 8.4%, 1979 - 12.3%, 1980 - 8.1%, 1981 - 8.2%, 1982 - 7.7%, 1983 - 5.9%, 1984 - 6.2%, 1985 - 8.1%, 1986 - 7.8%, 1987 - 7.3%, 1988 - 7.3%].