Happy 86th birthday to Don Larsen

donlarsenmemorabiliaWishing a happy 86th birthday to Don Larsen, who threw a perfect game in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series — the first no-hitter in postseason history.

Larsen retired all 27 Brooklyn Dodgers batters he faced at Yankee Stadium on Monday, October 8, 1956 for a 2-0 win. I had the pleasure of interviewing Larsen recently for the “Postseason Perfection” chapter of my upcoming book Baseball’s No-Hit Wonders, which is due out in March (available for preorders from Amazon in paperback and hardcover). It is one of my all-time favorite interviews. He is, of course, extremely proud of the accomplishment and remembers it in vivid detail. When I asked him how he felt when Roy Halladay tossed a no-hitter in the 2010 NLDS, he replied, “It didn’t bother me a bit. It was the playoffs. That wasn’t a World Series game, anyway.”

Also born on this date (1864) is Adonis Terry, who threw a pair of no-hitters for Brooklyn during the club’s time in the American Association.

On Saturday, July 24, 1886, Adonis’ Brooklyn Grays no-hit the St. Louis Browns for a 1-0 win at Washington Park. On Sunday, May 27, 1888, Adonis held the Louisville Colonels hitless at his Brooklyn Bridegrooms won 4-0 during a game at Ridgewood Park.

One more anniversary of note: On this day in 1899, the Boston Beaneaters’ Vic Willis no-hit the Washington Senators for a 7-1 win at Boston’s Huntington Avenue Grounds. There’s doubt if the game was truly a no-hitter, as a slow roller by opposing pitcher Bill Dinneen mishandled by third baseman Jimmy Rollins may have actually been ruled a hit, according to some accounts.