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When Don Larsen threw a perfect game against the Dodgers during the 1956 World Series, Larsen's second cousin, Phillip Hoose, was nine years old. Hoose was not allowed to watch most of the game, because it occurred during the day, and his parents wouldn't let him stay home from school. But that apparent misfortune turned out to be something of a blessing. After the last Brooklyn Dodger (Dale Mitchell) had struck out, the principal of the school Hoose was attending walked into the classroom and addressed the fidgety lad and his fellow students.
"Something very special has happened," the principal said. "Phil's cousin has pitched the first perfect game in the history of the World Series."
Thus did Hoose, who'd previously been nicknamed "Moron," achieve the sort of contact celebrity that can be invaluable to a poorly coordinated nine-year-old.
So if the perfect game was important to Larsen and his teammates, who went on to win the World Series, and important as well to everyone who follows baseball, it was certainly more important to young Phillip Hoose.
Perfect, Once Removed presents the story of the game itself, of course, and of its impact on Larsen's not-very-close relation as both a nine-year-old and as a middle-aged softball player who seeks out his second cousin almost fifty years after the achievement that turned him from a sub-.500 pitcher to a celebrity. In the tri-level ranch house in Idaho where the only man ever to have thrown a perfect game in the World Series has retired, Hoose finds a fellow who was once known for his late hours and wild ways, but who now has quietly concluded that "It was a good day for me. Everybody's entitled to a good day."
This program aired on October 5, 2006. The audio for this program is not available.
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