Thursday, June 17, 2010

Don "Gooney Bird" Larsen

I feel like most people, or at least most baseball people, know that Don Larsen is the only pitcher to ever throw a perfect game (and/or no-hitter) in the World Series, which he accomplished for the Yankees in 1956. And since he did it for the team I dislike more than any other, you have to look it up yourself if you want any more details than that. This is an Orioles blog brotha. I'm sure you can find some info on one of the 50,000 Yankees blogs out there.

Now that I got that out of my system, here are some things you might not know about Don. His MLB debut was for the St. Louis Browns in 1953. The Browns moved to Baltimore and became the Orioles prior to the 1954 season so he was one of the original '54 O's. He was a member of their starting rotation, and he didn't exactly excel in the role; he ended the season with a 3-21 record and led the AL in losses. In 1965, Don had a second stint in Baltimore near the end of his career, and actually fared much better out of the bullpen, going 1-2 with a 2.67 ERA in 27 games.

He has a relatively small number of Orioles cards; the above autograph in my collection is on a '77 TCMA card, which is about the size of a postcard. His rookie card is a '54 Bowman, but due to his popularity in Yankees circles, it's hard to find for under $40. That card has been reprinted in 1998 Bowman Chrome and 2001 Bowman Rookie Reprints. He is also included in the Orioles Crown set, which is the only card of his that I own, and I was going to send that to him TTM, but he charges $7 and I was able to get this TCMA online for less. He also interestingly has an Orioles certified autograph in 2003 Topps Retired. I think he also has a base card in that set. I really don't know how his two short stints for the O's got him a certified autograph in a set that came out 36 years after he retired, but it's pretty cool!

So I hope that you learned something new about Don Larsen. It's always fun to profile a member of the "O"riginal Orioles team.


SAinPA said...

I was not aware that Larsen was ever an O. Angelos must have owned the team back then too and let him go the Empire for 50 cents

Orioles Magic said...

Well, that does seem possible. But I think that I would've been yelling for him to be traded/released after a 3-21 season.