He Was A Cub
Volume 2 - Don Larsen
Most people know of Don Larsen; they know he pitched for the
Yankees, and of course, most know that he threw a perfect game in the fifth
game of the 1956 World Series. But most people don’t really know much about the
totality of his career.
Don Larsen signed with the St. Louis Browns as an amateur
free agent and played his first professional season in 1947 with Aberdeen of
the Northern League. From 1947 to 1950 Don played for 5 different teams in the
Browns minor league system. He was 36-29 during that time.
Following the 1950 season, Don started active duty in the
military with the Army. Over the next couple years Larsen was based in Hawaii
and he played with the Army baseball team.
Don returned from active service before the 1953 MLB season
and made the St Louis Browns despite not having pitched with the franchise in
over two years.
During his rookie season Don pitched in 38 games, starting
22 of them. He went 7-12 for the last place 54-100 Browns. For the 1954 season the Browns moved to
Baltimore and became the Orioles. The change of scenery did little to help the
team or Don. The newly minted Orioles went 55-99 and Don led the league in
loses, posting a 3-21 record.
Following the 1954 season, Don was traded to the New York Yankees
in what would eventually become a 15 player trade after everything was
During the next five seasons with the Yankees, Don made 128
regular season appearances, starting 90 games. He was 45-24 with a 3.50 ERA. He
also appeared in four World Series during this time. He made 7 starts, going
3-2. Of course, Don’s most famous game happened during the 1956 WS. Don pitched
the only perfect game in post-season history against the Brooklyn Dodgers on
October 8th winning 2-0.
After a 6-7 1959 season, Don was traded to the Kansas City
A’s. One of the players the Yankees received in return was Roger Maris.
Don struggled in the 1960 season. He went 1-10 with a 5.38
ERA and spent some time back in the minors.
Over the next 6 years Don Larsen played with 5 different
teams including the Giants, White Sox, and the Astros.
After playing with Baltimore for the second time in his
career, Larsen was released by the Orioles on April 11, 1966. He signed with
Phoenix of the PCL and pitched the entire year in the minors.
For the 1967 season he signed with the Chicago Cubs. He pitched with the
Dallas-Fort Worth Spurs AA team before being called up to pitch with the Cubs
Don made three appearances for the Cubs. He pitched in
relief on July 3rd, 4th, and 7th. He was 0-0
in four innings. He had 2 walks, 1 K, gave up 4 runs, including a HR to Mack
Jones, and finished with a 9.00 ERA.
Don pitched the 1968 season with two different Chicago Cubs
minor league teams, but he never made a major league appearance again.
Don Larsen finished his major league career with an 81-91
record and a 3.78 ERA.
Don was never a HOF type pitcher. But for one day in October
of 1956 he was perfect, and for that he will always be remembered.