Former Yankees starting pitcher Don Larsen, who threw the only perfect game in World Series history against the Brooklyn Dodgers in Game 5 of the 1956 Fall Classic, died at age 90 on Wednesday, according to his representative Andrew Levy.
Larsen was a two-time World Series champion with New York, winning World Series MVP in 1956.
"The world is less 'perfect' today," Levy tweeted on Wednesday night. "Don Larsen, the only man to pitch a perfect game in World Series history, is gone. Goodbye, my friend. We will miss you!
Other than that October day in 1956, when Larsen reached baseball immortality, he was the definition of a journeyman, pitching for seven teams in his 14 MLB seasons. He spent five of those years with the Yankees. He finished with an 81-91 record and a 3.78 ERA. In 10 postseason games (six starts), Larsen was 4-2 with a 2.75 ERA.
Larsen started Game 2 of the '56 World Series, after the Yankees lost 6-3 in Game 1. He didn't make it out of the second inning, allowing four runs (zero earned) and walking four. He was so ineffective that when it was his turn in the rotation, after back-to-back Yankees wins evened the Series, he wasn't sure he'd get the chance to start.
"I didn't even think I'd get another chance to start," Larsen told Sports Illustrated on the 50th anniversary of his perfect game. It's a good thing he did.
Only 23 pitchers in MLB history have thrown perfect games. Larsen was the sixth to do it, and the first since White Sox's righty Charlie Robertson in 1922.
It took more than 41 years for another Yankee to throw a perfect game, when David Wells blanked the Twins on May 17, 1998. A year later, on July 18, David Cone joined Larsen and Wells when he tossed the 16th perfect game in MLB history. Coincidentally, Larsen threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Yankee Stadium before Cone's perfect game.
The three Yankee pitchers became friends in the two decades since. On Wednesday night, Cone tweeted out a photo of him, Larsen and Wells at the 73rd annual Yankees Old Timers' Day from June.
"No one ever needs to remind me of what I did," Larsen told SI in 2006. "There's not a day goes by that I don't think about it."