web analytics
June 30, 2015 / 13 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Larsen’s Perfect Game Earned Me A Slap From My Rebbe


October 8, 1956. Fifty years ago.

During a break from our studies at Detroit’s Yeshiva Beth Yehudah, a couple of my ninth-grade classmates raced with me to a nearby gas station where we knew the radio would be on and the volume turned high.

It was the fifth game of the World Series between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Yankees. Each team had won two games. Don Larsen, 27, who hadn’t lasted through the second inning of Game Two, was pitching for the Yankees.

Sal Maglie, a 39-year-old veteran, was going for the Dodgers. The odds favored the latter, who posted a 13-6 record during the 1956 season along with a nifty 2.89 ERA. It was the seventh straight winning season for Maglie, who up to that point had compiled 108 career regular season victories against only 49 losses. Larsen’s career record was a less-than-mediocre 30-40.

We were back in our yeshiva classroom as Maglie and Larsen were hooked up in a scoreless duel in the fourth inning. I was the lone yeshiva representative at the gas station at the next break. The attendants were huddled around the radio. It looked like something important happened. I soon learned that nothing of importance had happened for the Dodgers.

It was the top of the ninth inning and not one single Brooklyn batter had reached first base. A few minutes later, Larsen struck out the last Dodger he faced. He’d pitched a perfect gamein the World Series! It had never been done before (nor has it been done since). The Yankees had two runs on five hits, the Dodgers all zeroes. Neither team had committed an error.

I ran back to the yeshiva and headed to the classroom. I encountered my rebbe in the hallway with barely a minute to spare. I paused to let him enter the classroom first. He stopped in his tracks and asked, “Who won the game?”

“The Yankees,” I responded. “Larsen pitched a perfect game.”

He responded by slapping me across the face. (Teachers in most Jewish schools in those days could do that if they thought a student was being disrespectful.)

“Don’t lie,” the rebbe said, wagging his finger at me.

I sat quietly in my seat for the rest of the afternoon, having decided not to take a chance sharing the historic news with my friends.

Years later, when I reminded my former rebbe of the events of that day and his reaction, he chuckled and said, “Would you believe me if I told you Larsen pitched a perfect game?”

From that point on, whenever we found ourselves together and in the company of someone who liked sports, my old rebbe would say to me, “Tell him the Larsen story.”

A couple of decades later, while I was working in the field of major league baseball, I found out more about the Larsen story.

I was schmoozing with United Press International baseball writer Milt Richman prior to an Old Timer’s Game at Yankee Stadium in the late 1970’s. Richman, a native of the Bronx, took a liking to the old lowly St. Louis Browns team as a teen in the 1930’s. (The Browns moved to Baltimore in 1954 and became the Orioles.)

Milt and his brother, Art, often hung around the visiting team’s clubhouse waiting for autographs. At times, the brothers even greeted the Browns when the team arrived at the train station before checking into their New York hotel.

As a writer in the 1950’s, Richman forged a friendship with Don Larsen when the latter began his career with the Browns. Richman would invite the pitcher to his parents’ home on Tremont Avenue, about a mile from Yankee Stadium. Larsen enjoyed Momma Richman’s Jewish cuisine, the homey atmosphere and the pleasant company.

While with the Yankees in 1956, Larsen lived at the Grand Concourse Hotel, which loomed above and beyond the right-centerfield bleachers of Yankee Stadium, and was a frequent dinner guest at the Richman home.

The night before Larsen made history, he shared a cab from Manhattan to the Bronx with Milt Richman and told the writer to expect a no-hitter. Larsen punctuated his prediction by pulling out a dollar and instructing Richman to give it to his mother, with the instruction that she was to donate it to her synagogue.

About the Author: Author, columnist, and public speaker Irwin Cohen headed a national baseball publication for five years before working for a major league team and becoming the first Orthodox Jew to receive a World Series ring. His column appears the second week of each month and he can be reached in his suburban Detroit dugout at irdav@sbcglobal.net.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Larsen’s Perfect Game Earned Me A Slap From My Rebbe”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Tzvi  at Cemetery of Mount of Olives
Jewish Press Blogger Stoned on Mount of Olives!
Latest Indepth Stories
Menachem Zivotofsky sued the U.S. government because the U.S. refused to include "Israel" alongside "Jerusalem" as the place of his birth on his passport. So far the courts have sided with the government.

The problem with US treatment of Israel did not start with Obama but with birth of Jewish State

Activists on the Marianne boat that the IDF made sure to arrive in Ashdod instead of Gaza.

The pathetic failure of the Marianne to reach Gaza is the best thing that has happened to Israel since Hamas mis-fired a rocket on its own civilians.

Pres. Rivlin and PM Netanyahu with the justices of the Supreme Court

Wonder why Israel has the world’s most insane rules of engagement imposed on its military? Read on..

obamatargetiran

Think political Islam’s a problem now just wait until an Islamist nuclear umbrella covers the region

Fiorina’s wrong about Islam which embraces our death&destruction confusing pc theories for hard fact

Bangladesh PM Hasina is fighting terror not only for her nation but for the entire civilized world.

No necessity to redefine marriage, just address equal rights for couples in non-nuclear families

PM Netanyahu has pledged the nation won’t rest until the hero Eli Cohen is returned home to Israel

“Palestinian armed groups” & “local authorities” are named in the report; Hamas’ absence stands out

Dating apps have really changed the way many young Jews approach dating.

The families of those slain even publicly forgave the murderer. Charleston was serene and at peace.

Changing plans needn’t be a frustrating experience. Sometimes the new path proves far more rewarding

Seventy-one members of the Assembly, including Glen Cove Assemblyman Chuck Lavine, who heads the New York chapter of the National Association of Jewish Legislators, joined in the effort to secure a majority to protect the rights of Jewish voters.

Students in New York City schools are protected by publicly funded security guards, so it would seem a no-brainer that students attending non-public schools be similarly protected.

More Articles from Irwin Cohen
Baseball-logo-NEW

Monsey-based David Romand is an interesting story. The bearded, impressive looking fellow grew up in the Los Angeles area and started following baseball seriously in 1959, the year the Dodgers won the World Series with Jewish players Sandy Koufax and brothers Larry and Norm Sherry. David played ball well at several positions. His grandparents thought […]

Baseball-logo-NEW

The New York Giants’ Jewish catcher thrilled Giants fans by hitting for the cycle.

The Mets at least have hope for the future with some good young pitchers.

The big news this spring is that the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals will be leaving their old spring homes north of Port St. Lucie and moving south to a beautiful new complex scheduled to open in two years in West Palm Beach.

A famous face from that first ’52 Topps set was Alvin Dark, who died in his South Carolina home recently at 92.

As the years flew by, one thing remained constant in Sid’s life – the New York Yankees.

During 1939, anti-Semitic groups such as Fritz Kuhn’s German American Bund held rallies in New York and other major cities across the country.

The two World Series combatants, the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants, were Wild Card teams (meaning they didn’t win their respective divisions) that got hot at the right time.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/larsens-perfect-game-earned-me-a-slap-from-my-rebbe/2006/10/04/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: