Pitcher Don Larsen dies of cancer at 90

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Los Angeles (AFP)

Journeyman pitcher Don Larsen, the only player in World Series history to throw a perfect game, died of cancer on Wednesday. He was 90.

Larsen's family spokesman Andrew Levy said the former New York Yankee died from cancer of the esophagus in Hayden, Idaho.

"The world is less 'perfect' today," Levy wrote on Twitter. "Don Larsen, the only man to pitch a perfect game in World Series history, is gone. Goodbye, my friend. We will miss you!"

Born in Indiana, on August 7, 1929, Larsen pitched his way into baseball lore on October 8, 1956, when he retired all 27 Brooklyn Dodgers he faced as the New York Yankees won game five by 2-0 before capturing the World Series in seven games.

The perfect game included seven strikeouts and ended with the iconic image of catcher Yogi Berra leaping into Larsen's arms.

Larsen posted a career 81-91 record with seven Major League Baseball clubs and won two World Series over 14 seasons with the Yankees.

"We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Don Larsen," the Yankees said in a statement Wednesday.

"Don's perfect game is a defining moment for our franchise, encapsulating a storied era of Yankees success and ranking among the greatest single-game performances in Major League Baseball history."

Larsen was named Most Valuable Player of the 1956 World Series, then won another championship with the Yankees in 1958.