Fifty-six years to the day Monday, Don 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.
On a brisk, fall afternoon in 2012, in the heart of the Garden State, he reminisced about the effort.
"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."
At that point, Larsen knew he was tabbed by manager Casey Stengel to start Game 5 with the series tied.
"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."
Larsen, who spoke at the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center at Montclair State University, certainly did nothing wrong that fateful day, throwing the only perfect game in World Series history, helping the Yankees capture the 1956 World Series title. After the seven-game win, he earned the series MVP.