Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Perfect reason for Larsen to sell perfect game uniform

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LITTLE FALLS, N.J. -- Don Larsen has the perfect way to pay for his grandchildren to finish college.

The 82-year-old former Yankees pitcher will auction off the pinstriped uniform he wore 56 years ago Monday when he threw the only perfect game in the World Series.

"I've been thinking about it for a bit," Larsen said. "I'm not getting any younger and I don't know how much longer I'll be around. I want to make sure they can both go to college, which isn't cheap these days.

"So, I figured it was the right time."

One of Larsen's grandkids is in college, the other a freshman in high school.

On the anniversary of Larsen's greatest day as a pitcher, Steiner Sports Memorabilia announced it will auction off the famed uniform. Larsen was joined at the news conference by his catcher, Yogi Berra, at the Hall of Famer's museum and learning centre at Montclair State University.

Larsen, who has kept the jersey in a closet in Idaho, was asked if he could fathom that his uniform could draw more in an auction than he made in his career as a major leaguer.

"It wouldn't take much," Larsen said. "Because I didn't make much."

A Babe Ruth jersey went for $4.4 million last year, so Steiner anticipates at least seven figures.

"I had only worn it three times, but we were entitled to keep it," Larsen said. "I kept in my closet and it was in great condition."

There was only one downside. Larsen's hat fell off when Berra jumped into his arms. It was never recovered.

"I was told it was picked up by some guy in New Jersey, then supposedly donated to the (Baseball) Hall of Fame," Larsen said. "Every picture I have of the day, my hat is gone."

On Oct. 8, 1956, Larsen walked into Yankee Stadium for Game 5 of the World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers, having no idea he was about to create one of the most memorable moments in baseball history.

"It was a beautiful day and I felt great," Larsen said. "I didn't know whether or not I was going to pitch. I came to the stadium early and as usual, Moose Skowron and Hank Bauer were there early ahead of me. I got to my locker and saw a ball in my shoe. I guess (third base coach) Frankie Crosetti was told to put it there.

"I looked at the ball and took a big swallow," Larsen said. "I said to myself, 'Don't screw this one up.' I'm just glad Casey had the faith in me to give me the ball."

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 9, 2012 C8

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