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Perfect: Don Larsen's Miraculous World Series Game and the Men Who Made It Happen

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"If you want to live inside the most famous statistical afternoon in baseball history, Perfect is...well, let's just say 'ideal'." -Chuck Closterman, Esquire On October 8, 1956, New York Yankees pitcher Don Larsen took the mound for game five of the World Series against the rival Brooklyn Dodgers. In an improbable performance that the New York Times called "the greatest "If you want to live inside the most famous statistical afternoon in baseball history, Perfect is...well, let's just say 'ideal'." -Chuck Closterman, Esquire On October 8, 1956, New York Yankees pitcher Don Larsen took the mound for game five of the World Series against the rival Brooklyn Dodgers. In an improbable performance that the New York Times called "the greatest moment in the history of the Fall Classic," Larsen, an otherwise mediocre journeyman pitcher, retired twenty-seven straight Dodger batters to clinch a perfect game and, to date, the only postseason no-hitter ever witnessed in major league baseball. Here, Lew Paper delivers a masterful pitch-by-pitch account of that fateful day and the extraordinary lives of the players on the field- seven of whom would later be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Meticulously researched and relying on dozens of interviews, Paper's gripping narrative recreates Larsen's feat in a pitching duel that featured legendary figures such as Mickey Mantle, Jackie Robinson, Yogi Berra, and Roy Campanella. More than just the story of a single game, Perfect is a window into baseball's glorious past.


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"If you want to live inside the most famous statistical afternoon in baseball history, Perfect is...well, let's just say 'ideal'." -Chuck Closterman, Esquire On October 8, 1956, New York Yankees pitcher Don Larsen took the mound for game five of the World Series against the rival Brooklyn Dodgers. In an improbable performance that the New York Times called "the greatest "If you want to live inside the most famous statistical afternoon in baseball history, Perfect is...well, let's just say 'ideal'." -Chuck Closterman, Esquire On October 8, 1956, New York Yankees pitcher Don Larsen took the mound for game five of the World Series against the rival Brooklyn Dodgers. In an improbable performance that the New York Times called "the greatest moment in the history of the Fall Classic," Larsen, an otherwise mediocre journeyman pitcher, retired twenty-seven straight Dodger batters to clinch a perfect game and, to date, the only postseason no-hitter ever witnessed in major league baseball. Here, Lew Paper delivers a masterful pitch-by-pitch account of that fateful day and the extraordinary lives of the players on the field- seven of whom would later be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Meticulously researched and relying on dozens of interviews, Paper's gripping narrative recreates Larsen's feat in a pitching duel that featured legendary figures such as Mickey Mantle, Jackie Robinson, Yogi Berra, and Roy Campanella. More than just the story of a single game, Perfect is a window into baseball's glorious past.

30 review for Perfect: Don Larsen's Miraculous World Series Game and the Men Who Made It Happen

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tony

    You know how when a book has captured your attention so much you don't want to go to work; you just want to squirrel away and read, read, read? Well, baseball fans everywhere...RUN, DON'T WALK to get this book. We all know the story, more or less, about Don Larsen and the only perfect game ever thrown in a World Series. But, ingeniously, Lew Paper breaks the book into 19 chapters, one for each half inning and the nineteenth for Dale Mitchell's at-bat. In telling the story of the game inning by in You know how when a book has captured your attention so much you don't want to go to work; you just want to squirrel away and read, read, read? Well, baseball fans everywhere...RUN, DON'T WALK to get this book. We all know the story, more or less, about Don Larsen and the only perfect game ever thrown in a World Series. But, ingeniously, Lew Paper breaks the book into 19 chapters, one for each half inning and the nineteenth for Dale Mitchell's at-bat. In telling the story of the game inning by inning and pitch by pitch, Paper also tells biographies of the 19 players who played in that game. Such great characters and stories, all faithfully told. As for the game itself....I felt I was there!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nick

    It's difficult, I think, to write a baseball book about the 1956 Dodgers and Yankees because so many of their names and histories are familiar: Jackie Robinson, Mickey Mantle, Pee Wee Reese, Yogi Berra and more. Lew Paper manages it by framing biographies of the players within Don Larsen's perfect game, the first perfect game thrown in a World Series. Along the way, he manages to emphasize the roles of expert fielding and Sal Maglie's pitching in the drama of that game. By looking at all the pla It's difficult, I think, to write a baseball book about the 1956 Dodgers and Yankees because so many of their names and histories are familiar: Jackie Robinson, Mickey Mantle, Pee Wee Reese, Yogi Berra and more. Lew Paper manages it by framing biographies of the players within Don Larsen's perfect game, the first perfect game thrown in a World Series. Along the way, he manages to emphasize the roles of expert fielding and Sal Maglie's pitching in the drama of that game. By looking at all the players, Paper reestablishes both the teamwork which was characteristic of 1950s baseball and the skills, talents and hard work of all 18 players. A very good baseball book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Don

    Sorry, but I hated this book. The title says Don Larsen. Unfortunately it is about everybody BUT Don Larsen. It seemed to be a bunch of Wiki-type short vignettes on the big names playing in the famous game. Not saying Yogi Berra, Sal Maglie, Duke Snider, Gil Hodges, et al. aren't interesting. But they all have books of their own that do a far better job telling their story. In general, if I buy a book about Don Larsen, I kind of expect more about Don Larsen--the main man who made it happen, who Sorry, but I hated this book. The title says Don Larsen. Unfortunately it is about everybody BUT Don Larsen. It seemed to be a bunch of Wiki-type short vignettes on the big names playing in the famous game. Not saying Yogi Berra, Sal Maglie, Duke Snider, Gil Hodges, et al. aren't interesting. But they all have books of their own that do a far better job telling their story. In general, if I buy a book about Don Larsen, I kind of expect more about Don Larsen--the main man who made it happen, who seems to get screwed over by this author.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    I expected a biography of Don Larsen. Instead I got mini-biographies of the 19 players who played in the World Series game where Don Larson pitched his perfect game. Interspersed with the player bios was a play by play of the perfect game which made for good organization.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Szymanski

    A unique approach to telling the story and history of one of the most amazing baseball games ever played. I couldn't put it down.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    In those long-ago days I was much more of a baseball fan than I am now. Although there wasn't a major league team within 1500 miles, we had the home town Salinas Packers, who played in the California League. The stadium was across a bean field from my house, and the roars of the crowd were easily audible from home. I listened on the radio when I couldn't go to the game. I was never lucky enough to date any of the players, although some of my friends were. One Monday in October of my junior year In those long-ago days I was much more of a baseball fan than I am now. Although there wasn't a major league team within 1500 miles, we had the home town Salinas Packers, who played in the California League. The stadium was across a bean field from my house, and the roars of the crowd were easily audible from home. I listened on the radio when I couldn't go to the game. I was never lucky enough to date any of the players, although some of my friends were. One Monday in October of my junior year in high school, I stayed home with a cold or some other minor malady. (I wasn't faking. I liked school and never played hooky.) I turned on the TV, and saw the World Series was on, Yankees v. Dodgers. I settled down to watch. Don Larsen was pitching for the Yankees. Yup. I saw the Perfect Game live. I had nobody to share the excitement with, but I was holding my breath along with the sportscasters and was utterly thrilled to have seen every moment of the historic game. This is a simple book. It's a play-by-play, interspersed with biographies of the 19 men who played that day and anecdotes about many of them: Yogi Berra, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Duke Snider, Pee Wee Reese, and so on. That's enough to tell you whether you want to read it. Either you'll be enthralled, or you'll be totally uninterested. You know who you are.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Tom Gase

    I gave this book three stars, but to someone reading their first baseball book I might see this as a higher rating. It wasn't bad, but I felt the problem with this book is it often strayed too far from the main topic--Don Larsen's perfect game. It seemed the bulk of the book wasn't about Larsen, Berra or the actual game, but it went back in time to tell stories about Jackie Robinson, Mickey Mantle, Gil Hodges etc. For someone reading their first baseball book, the stories on Mantle growing up in I gave this book three stars, but to someone reading their first baseball book I might see this as a higher rating. It wasn't bad, but I felt the problem with this book is it often strayed too far from the main topic--Don Larsen's perfect game. It seemed the bulk of the book wasn't about Larsen, Berra or the actual game, but it went back in time to tell stories about Jackie Robinson, Mickey Mantle, Gil Hodges etc. For someone reading their first baseball book, the stories on Mantle growing up in Oklahoma, Robinson breaking the color barrier, and Gil Hodges struggling in the World Series besides 55, this book is great. But as an avid baseball reader, I've read a ton of other books on the rich histories of the Yankees and Dodgers and I've heard these stories way too many times already. I bought this book to hear about Larsen, since I didn't know much about the player, person or even the game. I felt I didn't get much knowledge on that. So in summary, if you haven't read many baseball books, this is a great read. If you have, probably skip it. Lew Paper, however, does do a great job of research, but he should do like Mark Frost does in his book "Sixth Game" and not go away from the main story for more than a page.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    The great Brooklyn-Yankee rivalry of the 1950s is the backdrop for the story of Don Larson's perfect game in the 1956 World Series. Paper takes us through the game and provides mini-biographies of each of the players. Some of the stories are quite familiar to fans of those teams, but there is plenty of history about each player that will be unknown to most. It helps to appreciate this book if you happen to be an older baseball fan from the New York area. This is a nice choice during baseball seaso The great Brooklyn-Yankee rivalry of the 1950s is the backdrop for the story of Don Larson's perfect game in the 1956 World Series. Paper takes us through the game and provides mini-biographies of each of the players. Some of the stories are quite familiar to fans of those teams, but there is plenty of history about each player that will be unknown to most. It helps to appreciate this book if you happen to be an older baseball fan from the New York area. This is a nice choice during baseball season.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Brent Soderstrum

    Well, it wasn't what I thought it was when I bought it. It really isn't about Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series. It is a mini-biography of each of the participants in the game. There is a limited play by play of the game itself but there isn't any background to it. My favorite part of the book was the Aftermath chapter which discussed the lives of the particpants from 1957 till many of them passed away. It made it more real. We tend to make the baseball heroes we have mythical. Well, it wasn't what I thought it was when I bought it. It really isn't about Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series. It is a mini-biography of each of the participants in the game. There is a limited play by play of the game itself but there isn't any background to it. My favorite part of the book was the Aftermath chapter which discussed the lives of the particpants from 1957 till many of them passed away. It made it more real. We tend to make the baseball heroes we have mythical. Nice to be reminded they each had their problems they had to deal with just like us.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Reid

    I wasn't sure how interesting a book about one baseball game would be, but it turned out great. Mr. Paper structured the book into chapters that recounted each inning, and included profiles of ball players that were on the field that day. I recommend it for fans of classic baseball, but beware: the language is a little "colorful" here and there.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    Interesting approach to telling the story of this game but it got a little repetitive after a while. The game description segments were not very engaging and felt like it was targeted at non-baseball literate readers - who probably wouldn't be reading this book in the first place.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Barb

    Really fascinating account, more of the men involved in Don Larsen's perfect game than the game itself. The book does a great job showing how baseball players in the 1950s made their way to the majors and survived once they got there.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Colin

    Great book! Kept me engaged from start to finish.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Campbell

    I thought this was a great book. It shows many of the things that Don Larsen went through. Lew Paper {author} has explained this moment in Dons life excellently.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Glenn M

    Yankees/Dodgers. Goes through the lineup with bios of each team. Great Read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    patrick Lorelli

    A good baseball book that takes you through the and the players for each team. If you like baseball you will like this book.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Grace

    Good book. I liked how he wrote on the players. I think a play by play would have been boring. Putting the game in between the stories of the players was a great idea.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jim Blessing

    Outstanding book that not only discusses this game, but very interesting minor biographies of the players who participated in the game.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jo Anna

  20. 4 out of 5

    Vince

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ruth Davis

  22. 5 out of 5

    Paul Smith

  23. 4 out of 5

    Bob Brooks

  24. 4 out of 5

    Janine

  25. 4 out of 5

    Garry Wilmore

  26. 4 out of 5

    S A

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ken

  28. 4 out of 5

    Steven Spaller

  29. 4 out of 5

    Art

  30. 4 out of 5

    Clif Smith

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