Sunday, April 22, 2018
Sports

Historic jersey to help Larsen fund grandkids' education

LITTLE FALLS, N.J. — Don Larsen has the perfect way to pay for his grandchildren to finish college.

The former Yankees pitcher, 82, will auction off the pinstriped uniform he wore 56 years ago Monday when he threw the only perfect game in the World Series.

"I've been thinking about it for a bit," Larsen said. "I'm not getting any younger and I don't know how much longer I'll be around. I want to make sure they can both go to college, which isn't cheap these days.

"So, I figured it was the right time."

One of Larsen's grandkids is in college and the other is a high school freshman.

On the anniversary of Larsen's greatest day as a pitcher, Steiner Sports Memorabilia announced it will auction off the famed uniform. Larsen was joined at the news conference by his catcher, Yogi Berra, at the Hall of Famer's museum and learning center at Montclair State University.

Larsen, who has kept the jersey in a closet in Idaho, was asked if he could fathom that his uniform would draw more in an auction than he made in his career as a major-leaguer.

"It wouldn't take much," Larsen said. "Because I didn't make much."

A Babe Ruth jersey went for $4.4 million last year, so Steiner anticipates such a historic relic to draw at least seven figures.

"I had only worn it three times, but we were entitled to keep it," Larsen said. "I kept in my closet and it was in great condition."

There was only one downside. Larsen's hat fell off when Berra jumped into his arms. It was never recovered.

"I was told it was picked up by some guy in New Jersey, then supposedly donated to the (Baseball) Hall of Fame," Larsen said. "Every picture I have of the day, my hat is gone."

Francona's fresh start

CLEVELAND — Terry Francona could have waited to manage somewhere else. At some point, a more talented team in a major market with a massive payroll would make him an offer.

But if he was going back, there was only one team for him. And when the Indians called, Francona was on his way.

"I knew it was right for me," he said.

Francona, who led the Red Sox to two World Series titles, was introduced as manager of the Indians, who crashed in the second half after contending for four months. It's a family reunion of sorts for Francona, who has ties with the Indians going back more than 50 years.

His father, Tito, played six seasons in Cleveland, and Francona spent a year working as an assistant in the Indians' front office after he was fired by the Phillies.

Francona signed a four-year deal. He hopes to stay longer.

"I don't want to be a rental manager," he said. "I didn't want to come in worried. I want to be part of the solution. I want to stick around. I didn't come here to go to pasture."

BRAVES: C Brian McCann plans to have an MRI exam on the frayed labrum and cyst in his right shoulder and could have surgery that would require a four- to five-month rehab.

DODGERS: C A.J. Ellis had arthroscopic left knee surgery and should be ready at the start of spring training in February.

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