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Don Larsen on perfect game: Dodger batters in ninth looked like Williams

By
Don Larsen as told to the United Press

NEW YORK -- I'm plumb in another world and it feels so gosh darn good I don't think I'm ever coming back.

Imagine something like a perfect game happening to me. It can't be true. Any minute now I expect the alarm clock to ring and someone to say, "Okay, Larsen, it's time to get up."

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My legs are still rubbery all over and I'm so nervous and excited I don't even know what day it is.

Until today, the only thing I ever knew about a perfect game is that I read about it somewhere in a record book. The last one was back in 1922, they tell me, and I didn't think I'd ever see one, much less pitch one.

Can't think straight

If this story doesn't read altogether right it's only because I still can't think straight. Honestly, in that last inning there I was so keyed up about the whole thing I almost fell down.

Everything is still a little hazy but I remember striking out pinch hitter Dale Mitchell on a fast ball for the final out. Just before I threw the ball I said to myself, "Where, here goes nothing."

I'm not what you call a real praying man but once out there, in the eighth or ninth, I think it was, I said to myself, "Help me out somebody."

And I had plenty of help, too. That catch Mickey Mantle made on Gil Hodges' long liner in the fifth saved my bacon. And Andy Carey and Gil McDougald teamed up to pull me out of a hole when they robbed Jackie Robinson of a base hit in the second.

The lightest squeeze I had was in the fifth on that ball Sandy Amoros hit. I was plenty lucky on that one. I thought it would be a homer and tie the game up but it curved foul and was i tickled.

Victory only concern

Along about the sixth or seventh I realized I had a no-hitter but I never seriously thought about any perfect game. All I was mainly concerned about was just winning the game.

I was especially anxious to make up for that lousy start I had against Brooklyn. You know, the game in which I was six runs ahead and then was taken out in the second inning.

Casey Stengel has had a lot of faith in me this season -- he sided with me when others didn't -- and I just wanted to show him that his confidence wasn't misplaced.

Anyway, I hope my mom out in San Diego was watching the game. I think she was.

Mom always tells me to be careful about how I pitch to Ted Williams. Ted wasn't swinging against me out there today but you know something? In that ninth inning, every one of those Dodger batters I faced looked like Williams to me.

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