Monday, April 22, 2013

Browns Fan Club Luncheon Set for September 26: Pitcher, Don Larsen, Expected

The St. Louis Browns Fan Club 2013 reunion luncheon is scheduled for Thursday, September 26. The exact location has not yet been selected.  A featured guest at this year’s program is Don Larsen who pitched a perfect no hit game in the World Series while with the New York Yankees in 1956.

Larsen was signed by the Browns in 1947. He made his major league debut in a start against the
Detroit Tigers in April 1953. He pitched five innings, giving up three earned runs, while striking out three in a no decision, an 8-7 Browns win. He had his first career win a little less than a month later, on May 12, 1953 against the Philadelphia Athletics.

At the end of his rookie season, Larsen finished with n 7-12 record, 4.16 ERA and 96 strikeouts in 38 games, 22 of them starts. He finished first on the team in innings pitched (192 23) and complete games (7) and second on the team in strikeouts. He also allowed the most hits with 202, and earned runs (89) on the squad. He also broke a Major League record for pitchers by having seven consecutive hits at one point.

After the Browns relocated to Baltimore for the 1954 season, Larsen went 3–21 with a 4.37 earned run average and 80 strikeouts in 29 games. He led the league in losses and finished third in the league in earned runs (98). The Orioles only won 54 games that season, while having 100 losses, and finished the season in seventh place.

Larsen was part of a 17 player trade to the New York Yankees during the 1954 season. As a member of the New York Yankees from 1955 through 1959, Larsen was used by manager Casey Stengel as a backup starter and occasional reliever. He went 45–24 during his five seasons in New York, making 90 starts in 128 appearances.

During the 1955 season, Larsen participated in nineteen games, starting 13 of them. He had a 9-2 record with a 3.07 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 97 innings pitched

His 1956 season was the best of Larsen's career. He posted an 11–5 record, with a career best 107 strikeouts and a 3.26 ERA. Larsen was used in between the bullpen and the starting rotation for most of the season, participating in 38 games, starting 20.

Larsen had a rough start to the season, and by the end of May he had a 5.64 ERA. He gradually improved and by the beginning of August, Larsen lowered his ERA below 4.00. In a seven start stretch to finish the season, Larsen had five complete games, and pitched 10 innings in another. He finished the season with a 7-3 victory against the Boston Red Sox on September 28.

Larsen's most notable accomplishment was pitching the only perfect game in the history of the World Series; it is one of only 23 perfect games in MLB history. He was pitching for the New York Yankees in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers on October 8, 1956. His perfect game remained the only no-hitter of any type ever pitched in postseason play until Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay threw a no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds on October 6, 2010, in Game 1 of the National League Division Series.

Larsen started Game 5 for the Yankees. Larsen's opponent in the game was Brooklyn's Sal Maglie. Larsen needed just 97 pitches to complete the game, and only one Dodger batter, (Pee Wee Reese in the first inning), was able to get a 3-ball count.

Throwing fastballs, Larsen got ahead in the count at 1–2. On his 97th pitch, a called strike, Larsen caught Dale Mitchell looking for the 27th and last out. Larsen's unparalleled game earned him the World Series Most Valuable Player Award and Babe Ruth Award.

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