Thursday, January 2, 2020

1961 Topps #402 Don Larsen (1929-2020)

When I was a kid I had a thick World Series chronicle that had the box scores for every Series game through somewhere in the late 1970s. One of the things that fascinated me was that for Don Larsen's 1956 Perfect game the entry was a batter by batter, PITCH by PITCH. I had never seen anything like it, and really PxP accounts didn't really exist in the real world until the relatively recent big data revolution. 
1961 Topps #402 Don Larsen Pitches Perfect Game

One of the trading cards that covered World Series achievement was in the 1961 Topps Baseball Thrills subset.

Great card of Larsen's perfect game which occurred on October 8th 1956.

To begin with outside of a swatch announcing the event commemorated by the card the design is minimal. The picture here features our hero Larsen and the line score - perfect way summarize any no-hitter. In addition the remainder of the scoreboard tells us #8 is batting with a 1-2 coutn.  The 8 correctly identifies Dale Mitchell who struck out looking on a 1-2 pitch giving the Yankees a 2-0 victory in the pivotal fifth game of the 1956 series.

The series would got the distance with the Yankees winning.

1961 Topps #402 Don Larsen Pitches Perfect Game

The newsprint themed text on the card back does a good job of recapturing the Thrill of the perfect game. The author also provides some historical context: "...first pitcher to ever hurl a no-hitter in World Series competition." and "...first in 307 World Series games". I have minor quibble that description fails to mention the games final score 2-0.

1961 Nu-Cards
On the 60th anniversary of the Perfect Game we profiled the 1961 Nu-Card dedicated to the game. That column can be found here.

Baltimore Orioles
One of my favorite fun facts is that Don Larsen started the first game in Baltimore Orioles history, a 3-0 lost to the Detroit Tigers on April 13 1954.

Peanut Gallery
Some other Don Larsen Baseball Card Memorials
The Lost Collector - Various Autographed Cards and a Baseball
The Chronicles of Fuji - 1958 Topps #161 & various Autograph/Relic cards

Sources and Links
1961 Topps Baseball Thrills Index
No-Hitter Index
Game Dated Cards Index
trading card db

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a thousand words

a thousand words
2008 World Champions