It was just perfect. Nothing like it had ever happened before in a World Series game. Nothing like it has happened since. Twenty-seven Brooklyn Dodgers stepped to the plate on Oct. 8, 1956, and the same 27 batters were recorded out.
Not a single Dodger reached first base. For the Dodgers, 90 feet might as well have been 100 miles. It was just perfect. Yankee pitcher, Don Larsen, had accomplished what many people believed to be impossible. He had pitched a perfect game in the World Series. It was just perfect.
The perfect day for 9-year-old Phil Hoose came three months earlier. This fourth grader was Don Larsen’s second cousin. In July of 1956, Phil’s parents took him to Chicago to see the White Sox play the Yankees. He had hoped to meet his famous cousin. Unfortunately, the game was postponed due to rain. Young Phil began to cry. His disappointment was soon turned to joy, however, when his father was able to arrange a meeting with Don Larsen at the hotel where the Yankees were staying. In the hotel lobby, Don Larson gave his young cousin a big hug and then introduced him to Whitey Ford and Casey Stengel. Phil received an autograph from Mickey Mantle. Later, Yogi Berra strolled by and lovingly rubbed Phil’s head. This was Phil’s perfect day.
Though he wanted to stay home and watch his cousin pitch the fifth game of the 1956 World Series, his mother insisted he go to school. On Oct. 8 at 3 p.m., the school principle walked into Phil’s class and made the following announcement. “Something special has happened. The Yankees won the World Series game today, and Phil’s cousin has pitched the first perfect game in the history of the World Series. Don Larsen didn’t give up a hit, he didn’t walk anyone, and the Yankees didn’t make any errors. No Dodger even got to first base.” It was just perfect!
The rain brought disappointment to Phil. It was a dark day, but in a short time his day brightened. Dark days come into every life. Jesus taught in this world there would be tribulation. James reminds us even in the rainy seasons of trials, God works to build character. Paul puts it this way, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Then Paul defined “good” as being conformed to the likeness of God’s Son. It’s just perfect. It’s God’s way and He is just perfect!
Ken Haskins is pastor of First Christian Church in Carson City.