Antoineonline.com : Perfect: don larsen's miraculous world series game and the men who made it happen (9780451228192) : Lew Paper : Books
  Login | Register En  |  Fr
Antoine Online

Perfect: Don Larsen's Miraculous World Series Game And The Men Who Made It Happen

by Lew Paper
Our price: LBP 37,450Unavailable
*Contact us to request a special order. Price may vary.
I Add to my wishlist
|

Product Details

  • Publisher: NAL Hardcover
  • Publishing date: 29/09/2009
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9780451228192
  • ISBN: 0451228197

Synopsis

Product Description

Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers remains the only no-hit game in World Series history and was described by The New York Times as "the greatest moment" in World Series history.

Drawing upon oral histories, contemporaneous articles, and dozens of interviews with commentators and players (including all of the surviving players for the Dodgers and Yankees), Lew Paper brings that extraordinary event to life with a pitch-by-pitch narrative that incorporates profiles of the 19 players who were on the field that day, including Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider, and Roy Campanella. You will understand their backgrounds, their hopes, and their heartaches - and, most important, share the incredible tension they experienced on that unforgettable day in Yankee Stadium.

More than just a story about a single game, Perfect is a window into baseball's glorious past.

Amazon Exclusive: Lew Paper on Don Larsen's Perfect World Series Game (and Why It Will Never Be Repeated)

October 8 represented another anniversary of Don Larsen's perfect game in the fifth game of the 1956 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers – to date the only no-hit game (let alone perfect game) in more than one hundred years of the Fall Classic. There is of course a possibility that another pitcher will hurl a no-hit game – and perhaps even a perfect game – in the World Series. But it will never duplicate the drama of Larsen's feat.

Yankee first baseman Joe Collins – who had ten seasons with the club – told his son afterwards that it "was the most intense game he ever played in." Yankee right-fielder Hank Bauer – an 8-year veteran and an ex-marine who had survived Okinawa and other World War II battles in the Pacific theater – shared Collins' perspective and, when Dodger outfielder Carl Furillo stepped into the batter's box in the top of the ninth inning, kept saying to himself, "Don't hit the ball to me. Whatever you do, don't hit it to me." Even the great Mickey Mantle was a captive of the moment. "I played in more than 2,400 games in the major leagues," Mantle later said, "but I never was as nervous as I was in the ninth inning of that game, afraid that I would do something to mess up Larsen's perfect game."

But far more was at stake for the Yankees than Larsen's individual success. "We were thinking about winning the damn game," remembered third baseman Andy Carey. And for good reason. This was not just any World Series. The Yankees and Dodgers were locked in a long-time rivalry (with the teams confronting each other in six series over the course of ten years) that has no counterpart in today's baseball. And so the Yankees were especially eager – if not desperate – to avenge their defeat at the hands of the Dodgers in the 1955 series. A victory with Larsen would give them a 3-2 edge in games when the teams returned to Ebbets Field for the sixth and, if necessary, seventh games – where the Dodgers would enjoy the home field advantage.

Neither team could make any assumptions about the outcome of that fifth game – not even when the Dodgers were down to their last out in the ninth inning. The Dodgers were only losing by a score of 2-0, and, as they circulated in the dugout, they kept telling themselves, we can beat this guy. All we have to do is get someone on base. After all, in the post-World War II era, they had been the victims of only one no-hitter, and they could not believe it would happen to them again in a World Series. Dale Mitchell – pinch-hitting for Dodger pitcher Sal Maglie in the bottom of the ninth – shared that view. "We were so close," he later said, "that we really felt we were going to win it."

None of the Yankees could discount the Dodgers' likelihood of success at that point. They all knew about former Yankee pitcher Bill Bevens. He had taken a no-hitter into the ninth inning in a 1947 series game against the Dodgers at Ebbets Field. Still, the Yankees only had a 2-1 lead (because Bevens had walked ten batters, and one of them had scored). Bevens was able to get two outs in the ninth inning and needed only one more out to walk off the mound in glory. But Cookie Lavagetto, the Dodger pinch-hitter, slammed a double against the right field wall to drive in two men on base (the beneficiaries of walks) and turned a near-miraculous pitching performance into a tragic defeat.

Yogi Berra was the catcher in that 1947 game, and the experience loomed large in his mind when Dale Mitchell came to bat with two outs in the top of the ninth inning of the fifth game of the 1956 World Series. The Dodgers may have had only one out left, but Berra remembered thinking, "Anything can happen." And so Yogi too was more focused on winning the game than preserving Larsen's place in baseball history. "I wanted to win the game," he later said. "That's what I wanted to do."

Victory, however, was not a goal in and of itself. The money mattered as well. Some of the players (like Mantle and Berra) had substantial salaries. But in those days, most of the players had little if no bargaining power, and for them, the World Series check represented a substantial portion of their annual compensation. The players' share of the series earnings has grown substantially over the years ($351,504 for the winning Philadelphia Phillies in 2008 versus $8715 for the 1956 victors), but, in this era of free agency, the extra money means far less to the players today than it did in 1956. Indeed, the need – and expectation – of those extra dollars was a vehicle for the veterans to exhort better performances from the rookies. ("Don't mess with my money," Bauer would invariably tell them.)

Pitching a no-hitter in any World Series game would be a monumental achievement, but Don Larsen had to confront all of these additional pressures – and he did so without any advance notice of his pitching assignment. He had faltered in his start of the second game of the World Series by giving up a hit and four walks before the second inning had concluded. Yankee manager Casey Stengel had sent Larsen to the showers after the fourth walk, and Larsen assumed (like his teammates) that he would not be getting another starting assignment in the 1956 series.

He found out otherwise when he walked into the clubhouse on the morning of the fifth game. Under a Yankee tradition, third base coach Frank Crosetti would place a ball in the shoe of the starting pitcher, and Larsen saw the ball in his shoe when he sauntered over to his locker – thinking that he would be spending the game on the bench or in the bullpen. Pitcher Bob Turley, whose locker adjoined Larsen's, saw his teammate stare at the ball and gulp.

He may have been surprised, but, as time would show, Larsen was not intimidated. And so, when Dale Mitchell was called out on strikes for the last out, the Yankee pitcher could retreat to the security of the Yankee clubhouse and an immortal place in baseball history – although it escaped the grasp of at least one sportswriter at the scene, who, amidst the boisterous celebration, confronted Stengel with an important question: "Is that the best game he ever pitched?" We all know the answer to that one.




In just a few easy steps below, you can become an online reviewer.
You'll be able to make changes before you submit your review.

  • A Fine Nostalgic Look at the Old Days, Gone Forever.
    From Amazon

    "Perfect" is all about the fateful afternoon of Monday, October 8, 1956 when the Yankees' Don Larsen pitched a perfect game against the Brooklyn Dodgers. It was the fifth game of the World Series, played at Yankee Stadium on a beautiful, clear Fall day. "Perfect" concerns itself almost exclusively with the eighteen starters on the teams, plus that fateful pinch hitter, Dale Mitchell. This reviewer, a baseball-obsessed 9 year old at the time, has to state-up front- a little kvetching about 2 items in the text: >Sandy Amros' classic catch came in the 6th inning of game 7 of the '55 series. >Pete Rozelle was the 2nd commissioner of the NFL, succeeding the legendary Bert Bell. There are other eyebrow- raisers here, left unstated. Each starter (plus Mitchell) is granted his own chapter. Jackie Robinson and Gil McDougald share their own. Favorites are subjective but his reader preferred those on Joe Collins, Duke Snider, Sal Maglie and Enos Slaughter. Slaughter's pinch homer had won Game 3, with this reviewer in attendance. Did anything slow that guy down? An aftermath section closes the circle on what later life held for these guys, some of the tales not pretty. The Boys of Summer, in Dodger Blue or pinstripes did not last forever. This fan could never understand why Casey failed to find a slot for Sal Maglie after Brooklyn sold him to the Yankees. And that avocado farm in California never made the Duke rich; we used to read about that spread all the time! In fairness to the author, there are 35 pages of end notes, a solid bibliography and ample proof of painstaking research with some 46 interviews. The kvetching above should be taken with a dab of salt. "Perfect" is a tale of personalities and author Paper has hit the mark in his portrayals.

  • Mortals Are We All Of Us
    From Amazon

    As a previous reviewer noted this book is really 18 mini-biographies of the players who took part in that unforgettable game on October 8, 1956. I wavered whether I should attend school in 8th grade that day or listen to the game on the radio. School won out and I missed the game. Several of the anecdotes involving the participants have been recounted in other books, but there was some new stories as well. One that I particularly liked involved broadcaster Bob Wolff and Billy Martin. Martin had a temper-tantrum after being removed from a game after striking out and threw his bat and glove down in front of the manager. Wolff encountered Martin in the clubhouse after the game and told him that if he demonstrated this type of behavior he would never be a manager. "You wouldn't like it if you were a manager and a player did that to you." Years later Martin reminded Wolff of that advice and told him how much it meant to him. The actual details of each of the half innings really take up only a few paragraphs, while the bulk of each chapter involves a summary of each player's career. One of the anecdotes involving Pee Wee Reese on page 177 I heard Joe Garagiola on an old phonograph record called "That Holler Guy" credit to Clem Koshorek. Perhaps Reese used it as well. Page 163 had an error in which umpire Babe Pinelli is called "Pinella." Perhaps the author would like to correct this in the paperback edition. The final chapter, (19 Aftermath), puts this book over the top. Several recent books now conclude with a "where are they now?". This book has the best rendition I have read which provides the reader with what happened to each of the game's participants after their baseball career ended. Several have passed on from a variety of causes such as cancer or heart attacks. Jim Gilliam died from high blood pressure which probably had not been diagnosed. For each of the players with health problems there is a warning for each of us to avoid some of the pitfalls that befell the players. This book is a reminder that we are losing the generation of players who played during the 1950s. If you are of this generation treat yourself to a little nostalgia. And if you aren't read the book and see what you missed.

  • a"perfect" book
    From Amazon

    this book is inequivocally the best sports book I have read in in many years. The insights and anectodes that the author imparts to his readers are not only fascinating but novel. The organization of the book is very clever and the writing is impeccable. I wish that other aspiring sports authors would read this book to emulate Mr. Paper's methodology. It makes for a very satisfying, if not delicious read. A classic book.

  • GREAT READ
    From Amazon

    THIS IS BY NO DOUBT ONE OF THE BEST SPORT BOOKS I HAVE EVER READ. EACH CHAPTER IS A MINI-BIOGRAPHY OF ONE OF THE PLAYERS ON THE BROOKLYN DODGERS OR NEW YORK YANKEES IN THE 1955 WORLD SERIES, MANY OF WHOM ARE NOW ENSHRINED IN THE BASEBALL HALL OF FAME. THE WAY THAT EVERY AT BAT IS DESCRIBED AT THE END OF EACH CHAPTER ALMOST ADDED SUSPENSE EVEN THOUGH YOU KNOW THAT NONE OF THE DODGERS REACHED FIRST BASE. I ESPECIALLY ENJOYED THE EPILOGUE WHERE THE AUTHOR TELLS YOU WHERE EACH PLAYER IS NOW AND WHAT THEY HAVE DONE SINCE THE GAME. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK TO PEOPLE OF MY AGE WHO REMEMBER THE GAME AND TO YOUNG SPORTS FANS WHO CAN APPRECIATE WHAT DON LARSEN ACCOMPLISHED.

  • Best Baseball book of 2009: Writing + Research
    From Amazon

    I know this is a beautifully researched book -- I'm in the middle of producing a bio of one of players around whom Lew Paper's built his lovely "Perfect: Don Larsen's Miraculous World Series Game and the Men Who Made It Happen", so I know how deep he's gone into his subject and how well he's selected from the available record. His meticulous research brings to the surface a flotilla of interesting stories about the actors on the stage of this once-in-a-century event. His writing is even better. I planned on reading this book to extract specific information, but I've ended up reading it cover the cover pretty much non-stop. It's a treat to read, and a book I'll keep for my zero-sum baseball library. "Perfect" is easily the best baseball book of the year.

Close
Working on your request