Woke-up to the sad news Don Larsen passed away. October 8, 1956, was also the first time I would meet him in my aunt and uncle’s kitchen around 5:30. Back then, families lived within the same building, and my aunt and uncle lived a floor above us.
Aunt Anne come down while having dinner and ask if would okay for me to go upstairs and meet someone. Mom and dad knew and said okay. Leaving the dinner table back then was a big deal then. Sitting in there kitchen, having a beer with my uncle, was Don Larsen.
They had two season tickets to Yankee Stadium Section 5 club Lodge level. The seats were the first row seats1-2. They were directly behind Mel Allen and were all the sportswriters sat. Section 5 Lodge at the top of the stairs had a bar-clubhouse for the writers and the small group of ticketholders in that section. Back then, women were not allowed in any sports venue sportswriters bar/clubhouse.
My aunt often declined to attend games, sighting that Uncle Charlie would go up to bar for three or four innings, and she did not like sitting alone that long, and so I got to go to games. Many of the games I attended were Old Timers Day, Saturday and Sunday doubleheaders, and some World Series games. These games had a significant media presence. I did get to meet the writers in the beginning, and I was too young to realize the wow factor!
When my uncle died in1972 from cancer, Don Larsen sent my aunt a letter that she read I recall that he felt terrible that he could not make it to NYC for the funeral. Side note, my parents also knew him and never spoke of it.
Some years back, I went to Bryant Park to a Yankees event and spoke to Don Larsen and mentioned my Aunt Anne and Uncle Charles Shipp, and he stopped walking, and we exchanged a few words shook hand and parted our ways.