Welcome to Private Stache, an occasional feature in which Andy Gray, keeper of Sports Illustrated's indispensable Vault, spotlights the sports photography of yesteryear, a time when athletes wore short shorts and facial hair, and everyone looked vaguely uncomfortable.
While baseball fans applaud Roy Halladay's no-hitter last night, there's only one man who actually knows what it feels like. His name is Don Larsen. In October 1956, the Yankees' 27-year-old righty tossed a perfect game to beat the Dodgers in Game 5 of the World Series. In 2006, SI's Phil Taylor caught up with Larsen, and the old journeyman still remembered every detail of the career-defining game:
The memories, though, are Larsen's forever. He shares them with fans who line up for his autograph at card shows, telling them about how, because of a bad Game 2 start, he didn't even know he was starting that morning until he arrived at Yankee Stadium and found the ball in a shoe in his locker. He recalls the running catch that Mickey Mantle made on Hodges's blast to deep left center in the fifth inning—a ball that he says would have been a home run in today's remodeled Yankee Stadium—and also remembers perhaps the closest call of the day, Robinson's shot in the second inning that caromed off third baseman Andy Carey's glove to shortstop Gil McDougald, whose throw to first narrowly beat Robinson.