Former New York Yankee Don Larsen, who threw a perfect game and the only no-hitter in World Series history, died Jan 1, at the age of 90. Larsen was the journeyman pitcher who reached the heights of baseball glory in 1956 when he played for the New York Yankees.
“We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Don Larsen, who remained a welcome and familiar face at our annual Old-Timers’ Day celebrations. The Yankees organization extends its deepest condolences to Don’s family and friends during this difficult time. He will be missed,” Tweeted the club of the news.
Larsen’s agent, Andrew Levy, said the former pitcher died of esophageal cancer in Hayden, Idaho. Levy advised Larsen’s son, Scott, confirmed the death.
Larsen was the unlikeliest of characters to attain what so many Hall of Famers couldn’t pull off in whats known as the Fall Classic. He was 81-91 lifetime, never won more than 11 games in a season and finished an unsightly 3-21 with Baltimore in 1954, the year before he was traded to the Yankees as part of an 18-player trade.
Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement Thursday that Larsen’s perfect game has “remained unique for 63 years and counting.”
“Don’s perfect game is a defining moment for our franchise, encapsulating a storied era of Yankees success and ranking among the greatest single-game performances in Major League Baseball history,” the Yankees said in a statement. “The unmitigated joy reflected in his embrace with Yogi Berra after the game’s final out will forever hold a secure place in Yankees lore. It was the pinnacle of baseball success and a reminder of the incredible, unforgettable things that can take place on a baseball field.”
After a long life and even better career, Larson not only inspired today’s players of the game but also left a lasting impression on all the greats that ever took to the field.
“The biggest game I ever played in was probably Don Larsen’s perfect game,” Micky Mantle.