Autographed ball used by Don Larsen in the perfect game, October 8, 1956
Courtesy of E. Lisk Wyckoff, Jr., photograph by David Arky
Before Don Larsen threw his first pitch in Game Five of the 1956 World Series, not only had there never been a perfect game in World Series history, there had never been a no hitter either. In 1947, Bill Bevens had come within a lone batter of instant fame before Cookie Lavagetto's hit robbed him of a classic performance. On October 8, 1956 a similarly unlikely Yankee righthander confronted immortality in the ninth. Don Larsen had come to New York after going 3-21 for Baltimore in 1954. Nineteen fifty-six was his best season ever — with only 11 wins. But unlike Bevens, who in 1947 walked ten Dodgers, on October 8, 1956, Larsen retired every Dodger who came to the plate -- 27 in a row. When umpire Babe Pinelli's arm went up to signal a called strike three on the last batter, catcher Yogi Berra ran to the mound and leapt into Larsen's arms and the 97-pitch, 2-0 gem entered baseball lore.