Today’s Guest: Lew Paper, author, Perfect: Don Larsen’s Miraculous World Series Game and the Men Who Made It Happen
Lew Paper had to be wondering if it was a good thing or a bad thing – for him – when, a few weeks ago, Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay threw the first no-hitter in post-season competition in 54 years against the hapless Cincinnati Reds.
After all, Paper had just launched his new book, Perfect: Don Larsen’s Miraculous World Series Game and the Men Who Made It Happen, and Halladay’s achievement could have potentially taken away from or added to the lustre of what the little-known Yankees pitcher accomplished back in 1956 against the Brooklyn Dodgers.
For my money, I think Halladay — who has been a consistently awesome pitcher throughout his career — only served to remind us what a gem a no-hitter is and how rare getting one in the post-season really is.
LEW PAPER podcast excerpt: “There were so many pitchers on the Yankees staff who were better than Don Larsen and who he thought would get the nod for Game 5. Each one of the Yankees players I talked to were flabbergasted that he was going pitch that game.”
You can LISTEN to this interview with LEW PAPER, author of PERFECT: Don Larsen’s Miraculous World Series Game and the Men Who Made It Happen, by clicking the audio player above!
Barrels of ink have been spilled writing about Don Larsen’s perfect World Series game, but I never read any of those books. The thing that sucked me into this one wasn’t even Paper’s inning-by-inning account of the game. It was the story he wove about all the players who had an impact on that day, October 8, 1956.
I’ve been a New York Mets fans since I knew the first thing about baseball in the 1960s and an admirer of the team’s late manager, Gil Hodges, forever. But I was excited to read Paper’s description of Hodge’s early years, his married life, and more. Same with Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, Yogi Berra, and many, many more.
This is a book about the men who played the game that day, even more than it is about Don Larsen and the game itself. It’s a terrific, irresistible read for anyone who calls him or herself a fan of America’s pastime.