Unforgettable: Don Larsen's Perfect Game

Well, I wasn’t around to see this one when it happened, but I just watched the whole game on ESPN Classics so now I feel like I have finally experienced Yankee Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series. The broadcast they had on the air on ESPN was the Dodger broadcast, which means it was Vin Scully with the call — the same Vin Scully who makes still makes the calls for the Dodgers today, 53 years later. A couple of things that struck me — first of all, Scully — in the best superstitioutradition of baseball– avoids using the word “perfect game” or “no-hitter” until the game is over. He talks about what Larsen has done–i.e. ‘he’s retired 18 batters in succession”, but the words no-hitter or perfect game never come out of his mouth during the broadcast until it’s over. The other thing that’s interesting is that in the Youtube clip (embedded below), there has been some editing. When he got two strikes on the last batter, Larsen at one point turned his back to home plate and took a very long series of deep breaths, took off his hat, put it back on — clearly struggling to keep his composure. One more thing — although Scully never said “perfect game” or “no-hitter” while it was happening, he certainly had a full sense of the moment, for example saying at the start of the ninth inning: “Don Larsen comes out to pitch the most dramatic ninth inning in this history of baseball”.

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