Thursday, February 11, 2010

#389 Don Larsen

#389 Don Larsen
Well, what do you know? It's back-to-back World Series heroes, and they even experienced their shining moments in back-to-back years. I'm also in awe of Don Larsen's haircut, which you could set your watch to. At least that's what Abe Simpson told me.

Fun facts about Don Larsen:

-A native of Michigan City, IN, Don signed with the St. Louis Browns in 1947.

-Debuted with the Browns in 1953 at age 23. Despite completing seven of his 22 starts with a league-average 4.16 ERA, he went 7-12 for the woeful Brownies. The following year the club moved to Baltimore and his fortunes were even worse (3-21, 4.37 ERA).

-The Yankees acquired Larsen in a giant 17-player trade and he paid real dividends, going 45-24 with a 3.50 ERA while switching between starting and relieving between 1955 and 1959.

-Of course the pinnacle of Don's career came in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series, when he twirled a perfect game against the Dodgers. It gave the Yankees a 3-2 lead in a Series they would win in seven games. He is still the only pitcher to ever toss a perfecto in the postseason, and he was named Series MVP.

-Overall, he had a 4-2 record with a 2.75 ERA in ten games spanning five World Series.

-Larsen was known as a carouser; manager Casey Stengel once said that the only thing he feared was sleep. Teammates dubbed the lanky pitcher "Gooney Bird".

-Bounced from team to team and pitched primarily in relief in the second half of his career. Logged time with the Athletics, White Sox, Giants, Astros, Orioles, and Cubs.

-Turned in two of the best years of his career at ages 34-35, going 4-9 with a 2.45 ERA in 1964 and 1-2 with a 2.88 ERA in 1965.

-When he retired during the 1967 season, his career record stood at 81-91 with a 3.78 ERA.

-He threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Yogi Berra at Yankee Stadium on July 18, 1999. That day, he witnessed David Cone throw a perfect game. He was also inducted into the Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005.
#389 Don Larsen (back)


  1. i believe it was johnny u who had the aforementioned timepiece haircut. but larson seems to wear it well as well.

  2. Larsen pitched for the Orioles in 1965 but it is hard to find a uniformed photo of him. I think he is in the 65 Orioles yearbook but not an Oriole in either the 65 or 66 Topps set.
    The Orioles had a very veteran bullpen that year with Larsen, Stu Miller, Harvey Haddix, Dick Hall and 19 year old Jim Palmer.

  3. Probably won't see another 3-21 season by anyone for awhile...

  4. Kevin, this is Larsen's last card. He was in the minors in '66 and '67, and only spent a week or 2 with the Cubs in 1967.

  5. This would have been my favorite card. As a kid, I was fascinated with Larson's no hitter.

    But they have the line score upside down! The Yankees were at home in Game 5.