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David Cone, The Perfect Game, July 18, 1999

It was "Yogi Berra Day" at the Stadium. Don Larsen was among the 41,930 in attendance.  He was there to throw out the first pitch to Berra who caught his "Perfect Game in the 1956 World Series.

The plan was for Larsen to tarry  a while in seat behind home plate, watch a few innings and then go back to his hotel and relax. But Larsen, like all the others in the park that day, was riveted to what Yankee starter David Cone was doing to Montreal.     

In 95-degree heat, Cone threw all manner of pitches from an assortment of arm angles. Even a 33 minute rain delay in the third inning had little effect on his peerless pitching performance.  In the eighth inning, Montreal's Jose Vidro grounded sharply up the middle. Second baseman Chuck Knoblauch, moving right, backhanded the ball and threw him out.  

"When Knoblauch made the great play," Cone said, "I decided there was some kind of Yankee aura. Maybe this was my day,"

As the ninth got underway, Cone was given a standing ovation as he walked to the mound. The large crowd remained standing. Cone got the final out - Orlando Cabrera, a popup. Cone grabbed the sides of his head, dropped to his knees and was quickly lifted by his teammates onto their shoulders.

The Yankees had a 6-0 win. Cone had only the 14th perfect game in modern history,  the second thrown by a Yankee pitcher in 14 months.  He hadn't gone to a three-ball count all day. He threw 88 pitches, 68 strikes, getting thirteen fly outs, ten strikeouts, and four groundouts.

"You probably have a better chance of winning the lottery than this happening," he said. "The last three innings, that's when you really think about it. You can't help feel the emotion of the crowd. I felt my heart thumping through my uniform."

A Press Release from the Office of the Mayor read:

"Today was a perfect day for New York and the New York Yankees. David Cone made baseball and Yankees history not only by pitching just the 16th perfect game ever and the third in the history of the Yankees, but also by doing it with Don Larsen and Yogi Berra present on Yogi Berra Day. David Cone is one of the greatest pitchers in baseball and he is also one of the finest gentlemen in the game."

Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani over-reached some more on July 20, proclaiming that day "David Cone Day" in New York City.

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You can reach Harvey Frommer at:   

Email:  harvey.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU 

About the Author:

Harvey Frommer is in his  38th year of writing books. A noted oral historian and sports journalist, the author of 42 sports books including the classics: "New York City Baseball,1947-1957" and "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," his acclaimed REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM was published in 2008 and his REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK: AN ORAL AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE HOME OF RED SOX NATION was published to acclaim in 2011.  The prolific Frommer is at work on When It Was Just a Game, An Oral History on Super Bowel One. 

His work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, New York Daily News, Newsday, USA Today, Men's Heath, The Sporting News, among other publications.

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Harvey Frommer along with his wife, Myrna Katz  Frommer are the authors of five critically acclaimed oral/cultural histories, professors at Dartmouth  College, and travel writers who specialize in cultural history, food, wine, and Jewish history and heritage in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. 

This Article is Copyright 1995 - 2014 by Harvey Frommer.  All rights reserved worldwide.

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