Former New York Yankees pitcher and Hall of Famer Don Larsen, the only person to pitch a perfect game in a World Series, died at the age of 90, according to an announcement from his representative Andrew Levy issued on Wednesday on Twitter.
Larsen was 90 and, according to the announcement, died of esophageal cancer in hospice care in Hayden, Idaho.
Larsen pitched the perfect game in the 1956 World Series, a series won by the Yankees in 7 games, over the Brooklyn Dodgers, who knocked Larsen out in the second inning of Game 2 before Larsen’s legendary gem in Game 5.
Larsen discussed the performance, and the decision of Yankees manager Casey Stengel to start him in Game 5. Larsen didn’t believe that he would get another chance to pitch in the World Series following his Game 2 shelling.
“I must admit I was shocked,” Larsen wrote in his autobiography. “I knew I had to do better than the last time, keep the game close and somehow give our team a chance to win. Casey was betting on me, and I was determined not to let him down this time.”
“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 issued on Twitter.
“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.”
We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Don Larsen, who remained a welcome & 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. pic.twitter.com/OgOdofzSTS
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) January 2, 2020