With the postseason major league baseball playoffs right upon us, many older fans recall Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series.
During a recent vacation, I read the book, “Perfect,” authored by Lew Paper.
On Oct. 8, 1956, New York Yankees pitcher Don Larsen took the mound at Yankee Stadium for Game 5 of the World Series against the rival Brooklyn Dodgers. Larsen pitched a perfect game and, to date, the only no-hitter in World Series history.
The Yankees won game five of the World Series by a score of 2-0. New York won the 1956 World Series in seven games.
Star players for New York included Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Bill Skowron and Hank Bauer. Playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers were Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snider and Roy Campanella.
“Don Larsen’s remarkable accomplishment, retiring all 27 batters that he faced in Game 5, remains a unique occurrence in baseball history,” wrote author Lew Paper.
Most of the baseball games during that era of major league baseball were played during the day instead of at night.
“In 1956, during the World Series, kids brought transistor radios to school,” wrote Paper, “and some sympathetic teachers would even bring in small television sets with rabbit ears.”
Larsen was like many future major leaguers who started at the bottom of the ladder.
The San Diego native began his professional baseball career with the Aberdeen Pheasants in South Dakota, in 1947. This was part of Class C competition in the old Northern League where Fargo’s Roger Maris also started his pro baseball career.
Larsen served two years in the U.S. military, starting in 1950, during the Korean War.
Larsen’s teammate Hank Bauer
Author Lew Paper has several sidebars about Don Larsen’s New York Yankees teammates.
One of them is Hank Bauer who had a tryout in the spring of 1941 at Grand Forks, then a Chicago White Sox minor league team.
Bauer, an outfielder, was then assigned after the tryout to a minor league team in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, later serving with the Marines during World War II.
Playing for Grand Forks, in 1940, was pitcher Harley Oyloe who later led the Fergus Falls town team to the state title in 1950. Oyloe, like Bauer, also served in the military during World War II.
Oyloe, in the 1950 state title game for the Fergus Falls Red Sox, twice struck out future New York Yankees star Bill Skowron. Fergus Falls won the game 3-0 at Municipal Stadium in St. Cloud.
Dick Seal remembered
Longtime Fergus Falls sports fans fondly remember former Daily Journal sports editor Dick Seal who died Sept. 20 in Sartell. He was 83
Seal served readers here in the early 1960s. “Seal Barks” was his weekly column.
“Dick was a very nice man and a good sportswriter,” said Ken Kothe who was an Otter all-around athlete and who graduated in 1963. “Dick previously had ties to Springfield in southwest Minnesota and knew of my brothers, Herb and Ted, great athletes, both of them.”
Also singing the praises of Seal is 1965 FFHS grad Dan Larson.
“I played baseball for UND, Grand Forks, and we were in Minneapolis. playing the Gophers in terrible weather for a doubleheader,” Larson said. “Dick found me between games.”
Larson said that Seal came over just to say hello, remembering Larson’s playing days as an Otter.
“I never forgot that gesture by a true lover of all sports,” Larson said.
The late Bill Colbeck, coach at Hillcrest, was a special friend of Seal. He appreciated Seal’s coverage of the Comets and, now and then after football or basketball practice, would invite Seal to join with students for an evening supper.
Seal went beyond the call of duty, even covering ninth grade Otter football games when the coach was Oats LeGrand.
He was one of a kind.
Tom Hintgen is a longtime Daily Journal columnist. His column appears Saturdays.