One of the first things I can recall hearing about as a little kid interested in sports was that Don Larsen of the New York Yankees pitched a perfect game in the 1956 World Series.

I read baseball history books by the bushel as a kid. Every time you checked out any type of great baseball feats book at the library – yeah, there was no such thing as Barnes & Nobles back then – there was a chapter on Larsen and his historic outing.

All the key facts have forever stuck in mind – opponent was the Brooklyn Dodgers; the score was 2-0; Sal Maglie was the losing pitcher; Yogi Berra was the catcher, and Dale Mitchell was called out on strikes for the final out.

I seemingly know more facts about that game than the only no-hitter I witnessed in person – Bud Smith of the St. Louis Cardinals no-hitting the San Diego Padres in 2001. I was sitting on the first-base side of Qualcomm Stadium and can tell you the final out came on a tapper back to Smith but I would have to look up both the last hitter and the final score.

( tells me the batter was Phil Nevin and the final score was 4-0, here’s a link to the box score … …)

Anyway, as long as I have been alive, there has been just one name to say whenever anyone has asked me if a pitcher has ever thrown a no-hitter in a baseball playoff game.

The answer was upgraded to two on Wednesday’s first day of the 2010 postseason. Just two days before the 54th anniversary of Larsen’s famous performance, Roy Halladay of the Philadelphia Phillies tossed a no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds.

It was Halladay’s first career postseason start and he came within a fifth-inning walk to Jay Bruce of throwing a perfecto. Nice postseason debut for the pitcher known as “Doc.”

I always heard a lot about Larsen as a kid growing up in San Diego and I remember it being a big deal when he participated in an old-timers game prior to a San Diego Padres game. Larsen went to Point Loma High School, located not far from the San Diego airport.

An interesting tidbit for sports trivia buffs is this: Larsen isn’t the only Point Loma High alumnus to throw a perfect game. David Wells, who threw a perfect game for the Yankees in 1998, also attended the school.

Anyway, I wonder how Halladay’s postseason no-hitter will resonate with today’s young baseball fans. The history of the game is no longer learned through books or by hearing stories from announcers like Vin Scully.

Everything is sensationalized and people learn their facts via ESPN and online Google searches – can you just imagine all the “Don Larsen” searches during the later innings of the Phillies-Reds game? And nearly everything that happens quickly becomes yesterday’s news before an hour passes.

But 54 years between postseason no-hitters? Got to figure people understand how epic Halladay’s performance was and where it stands in the history of the sport.

The only thing that would be more amazing would be for local libraries to see a run of Don Larsen books being checked out tomorrow.


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