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60 Years Ago: Only World Series Perfect Game Fails To Impress Bill's Mom03:01
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Bill Littlefield wasn't there to see Don Larsen pitch a perfect game in the World Series...but his mom was. (AP Photo/File)
Bill Littlefield wasn't there to see Don Larsen pitch a perfect game in the World Series...but his mom was. (AP Photo/File)
This article is more than 3 years old.

October 8th, 1956, was a normal day, except that when I got home from school, my mother wasn’t there.

Ginny Cochran was there. She was the teenager who lived next door. She sometimes stayed with me when my parents went out for dinner. But what was she doing in our kitchen at 3:30 in the afternoon?

“One of your mom’s friends called this morning and asked her if she wanted to go to the World Series game. She had an extra ticket.”

I am assuming Ginny Cochran said that. I don’t remember, exactly. I don’t remember at all. I was eight years old. But Ginny Cochran must have said something like that.

A very young Bill Littlefield at the Polo Grounds. (Courtesy)
A very young Bill Littlefield at the Polo Grounds. (Courtesy)

And I must have been one angry 8-year-old. I was the baseball fan in the family.

My parents had lived in Brooklyn for a time before I came along, and they’d been Dodger fans. But they can’t have been serious about it, because when I came into baseball consciousness, I was conscious only of Willie Mays and the Giants, and Mom and Dad switched allegiances, apparently effortlessly. By then we were living in New Jersey, so the choice was no longer risky.

Anyway, my mother was at the World Series? I didn’t know at the time that it would be 30 years before I would attend a World Series game, but I knew even then that it seemed unjust. Beyond the stories she would tell me of listening to Red Barber broadcasting the heroics of Pee Wee Reese, Jackie Robinson and Duke Snider, what did she know about baseball?

Not all that much, as would soon become apparent.

I didn’t watch that World Series game on TV.  Why would I have? The Giants weren’t involved. I probably played Parcheesi with Ginny Cochran.

I didn’t watch that World Series game on TV.  Why would I have? The Giants weren’t involved. I probably played Parcheesi with Ginny Cochran.

I wish I had watched it, so that now I could say I had. Because October 8, 1956 was the day — and it was a day game … a World Series, midweek day game is how long ago it was — it was the day Don Larsen of the Yankees threw a perfect game at the Dodgers.

Nobody’d ever done that before in the World Series. Nobody’s done it since. Apparently it had to happen once, and it happened on the day my mother’s friend had an extra ticket, and my mother saw it, and when she got home, she said, “We were sort of keeping score.” Or something like that. I was eight, remember. And she said, “Every inning I just put three 'x’s' down for the Dodgers. Three 'x’s' in a row, every inning.”

Not “K’s.” Not 6-3’s. Not F8’s. “X’s.”

At some point, somebody had to tell her that she’d seen the only World Series perfect game. Maybe it was my father. He was also in New York that day, but downtown, not in the Bronx.

And I was home.

Ah, well. It was 60 years ago. Since then I’ve been to World Series games several times.

But, like you, I’ve never been present for a perfect game during the World Series. I suppose I never will be. Though I have reached the point where I think it’s kind of cool that my mother saw it.

This segment aired on October 8, 2016.

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