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Yankees Top Moments: (#2) Don Larsen's perfect game vs. (#3) Ruth's called shot

Which moment was bigger – World Series perfection or a legendary prediction?


The Pinstripe Alley Top Moments Tournament enters the second round of the founding-1959 bracket. Vote for the moment that deserves to move on in the poll below.

(#2) Larsen's Perfect Game

Don Larsen wasn't the ace of the 1956 Yankees' staff. The 27-year-old San Diego native made just 20 starts all season and gave up four walks and four runs in an inning and two thirds in game two of the World Series. Fans had to feel more than a bit nervous on October 8th when he took the Yankee Stadium hill for Game Five with the Yankees and Brooklyn Dodgers tied at two wins apiece. Two hours and nine innings later, though, Brooklyn's line score was zero-zero-zero and Yogi Berra was jumping for joy into Larsen's arms after catching the only perfect game in postseason history.

Even as Larsen cut through a Dodger lineup that featured four future Hall of Famers, victory was never a sure thing. Sal Maglie nearly matched his performance allowing just five hits and two runs over eight strong frames. A Mickey Mantle homer in the fourth and a Hank Bauer RBI in the sixth were the difference as Larsen remained unscathed into the ninth. Carl Furillo led off with a fly out to right then Roy Campanella grounded to second. Dale Mitchell struck out swinging for the final out on a one-two pitch, Larsen's 97th of the afternoon.

Two days later the Yankees won a decisive game seven and earned their seventeenth World Championship. Larsen's is one of 21 perfect games ever thrown, and at the time it was the first in 34 years. A total of 53 more seasons would pass before a pitcher again managed a no-hitter in the playoffs when Roy Halladay did it in the NLDS in 2010, but no one else has touched October perfection.

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Entry written by Harlan Spence on November 20, 2013.

(#3) Babe Ruth's called shot

In the third inning of Game Three of the 1932 World Series, Babe Ruth came to the plate to face Cubs starter Charlie Root. In what may have been an attempt to rattle the legendary slugger, the Cubs bench decided to heckle the Babe mercilessly. Ruth obliged his would-be tormentors by barking right back at them. After taking strike one, Ruth gestured with his hand in an indeterminate direction. After taking a second strike, Ruth repeated the gesture. It's unknown if Ruth was pointing at Root, the Cubs bench or the centerfield seats, but on the next pitch Ruth slammed a home run of at least 440 feet over the centerfield wall. On his trip around the bases, Ruth made sure to let the Cubs know of his accomplishment, making several more gestures toward the dugout.

It would have simply been another monstrous home run in a career of many, as the Yankees would sweep the series easily. But as word spread of the "called shot", the legend grew to epic proportions Ruth, ever the showman, did nothing to demystify the event. While he was coy about whether he was pointing to the seats or not immediately after the game, he would say he was pointing to center in later newsreels and biographies. Naturally, fans and sportswriters ate it up. Regardless of whether or not he actually did call his shot, it is one of the most amazing cases of sticking it to a belligerent opponent in the history of sports. A larger than life moment from a larger than life man.

Entry written by Michael Brown on November 21, 2013.