In Memoriam: Don Larsen, 1929–2020

January 6, 2020 – January 27, 2020

James Larsen, (1929-2020) [detail] by Arthur B. Rickerby (1921–1972) / 1956, Gelatin silver print / National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution / NPG.95.385 / © Wanda Rickerby

National Portrait Gallery
8th and G Streets, NW
Washington, DC

1st Floor Floor Plan

In the 1956 championship series pitting the New York Yankees against the Brooklyn Dodgers, Yankee hurler Don Larsen entered the record books by pitching the first and only perfect game in World Series history. With the series even at two wins apiece, Larsen took the mound for game five and, inning by inning, proceeded to retire each Dodger batter he faced. In the top of the ninth, with two outs and the count on pinch hitter Dale Mitchell standing at one ball and two strikes, Larsen unleashed a pitch that zoomed over the plate for a called third strike to end the game. By retiring twenty-seven consecutive batters without allowing a single hit or base on balls, Larsen had achieved pitching perfection.

In this dramatic image, press photographer Arthur Rickerby not only captured Larsen’s delivery of the game-winning pitch but preserved the perfect game tally on Yankee Stadium’s centerfield scoreboard.