New York Yankees: Perfect Games and No-Hitters – DVD Review

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Theres been so much bad news coming out of the Bronx in the last few years. What can help a fan of the pinstripes forget about missing the playoffs, spending $3,000 on a front row seat and A-Rods tabloid headlines? Theres always basking in nostalgia. New York Yankees: Perfect Games and No-Hitters is the perfect antidote to the memories of the recent 22-4 loss to the Cleveland Indians in the New Yankee Stadium. Fans have six games to remember a time when the home pitchers dominated in the old Yankee Stadium. Each game is presented with the original broadcast minus the commercials and station identifications.

The essential gem of the collection is Don Larsens perfect game against the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1956 World Series. Watch as Larsen shuts down a line up that contains future Hall of Famers Duke Snider, Roy Campanella, Pee Wee Reese and Jackie Robinson. Mel Allen and Vin Scully (still calling Dodger games) call the game. The kinescope of the original broadcast is missing the first inning. We get Bob Wolffs radio broadcast to cover the missing moments. They give us a montage of the old Yankee Stadium before it was given a facelift in the mid-70s. The outfield is extremely deep. In direct centerfield are three monuments to Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Miller Huggins. During this game nobody hits it the 450 feet to get the ball stuck behind the marble slabs. Mickey Mantle does nail a homer. This is also a good chance for kids to see both Yogi Berra and Billy Martin as players. You can listen to Wolffs call for the entire game on the alternate soundtrack.

Dave Righettis No-Hitter against the Boston Red Sox is a colorful affair since it took place on the 4th of July in 1983. The broadcast starts with skydivers dropping into the park. Righetti handcuffs a line up that includes new Hall of Famer Jim Rice. The Yankees are led by Dave Mattingly, Dave Winfield and Lou Piniella. Jim Abbotts No-Hitter against the Cleveland Indians in 1993 is more dramatic because the lefthander was born without a right hand. While victimized in the Righetti game, Wade Boggs is now in pinstripes and gets to enjoy this pitching feat.

In the late 90s, the Yankees once more became a World Series dynasty. These powerhouse teams were marked by dominating pitchers. Three of them pulled off no-hitters during this golden era. Dwight “Doc” Gooden was the first as he goose egged the Seattle Mariners in 1996. After becoming a sensation in his early days as a New York Met, Doc had fallen on hard times and hard drugs. This was his second chance. Nobody thought he had it in him to destroy a Mariners line up that included Ken Griffey Jr. and future Yankee Alex Rodriguez. David Wells is a disheveled guy who tossed a perfect game against the Minnesota Twins in 1998. Wells has the body of a veteran of softball beer league games. David Cone also captured perfection against the Montreal Expos. What really makes this game special is that the ceremonial first is thrown between Don Larsen and Yogi Larsen. What are the odds that this battery of perfection would witness another in Cone and future manager Joe Girardi? How many people played all their numbers in the Powerball that night?

The video is 1.33:1. Since these games were taken from videotape masters, these arent as sharp as an HD broadcast on ESPN. Theres issues on the earlier games. But if youre a Yankees fan, youll forgive these deficiencies in order to observe the historical feats. Don’t expect a Blu-ray transfer of these games in 1080p. The audio is Dolby Digital stereo. Mostly its the announcers talking away so theres no real bam sound moments.

Abbott/Righetti Feature (2:34) gives extremely brief coverage of the games with interviews with both pitchers. This edited from a show about No-Hitters.

Wells/Larsen/Cone Feature (8:57) is more from the special about No-hitters. This time we get the three perfect games with the pitchers talking about their day of no runs, no hits, no walks and no errors. They point out the connection between all three guys besides their uniforms.

Don Larsen Interview (6:45) is the raw footage from the special.


Dave Righetti Interview (4:15) has his post-game TV chat after the big win.

Dwight Gooden Interview (8:06) is video from 1996. He talks about the comeback and the joy of Dwight Gooden Day in New York City.

David Wells Interview (18:26) is the raw footage from his segment in the No Hitter special.

David Cone Interview (15:03) is more raw footage. He talks of the irony of pitching a perfect game on Yogi Berra Day.

Dwight Gooden Day (10:13) has the pitcher getting honored by Mayor Rudy Giuliani in City Hall.

David Wells Day (6:07) has him also getting honored by Mayor Rudy with the Key to the City.

Theres nothing more exciting for a fan than the No-Hitter if youre rooting for the right team. For fans of the Bronx Bombers, like my mailman Teddy, New York Yankees: Perfect Games and No-Hitters will provide a thrill even if they know the outcome.

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A&E Entertainment presents New York Yankees: Perfect Games and No-Hitters. Don Larsen, David Cone, David Wells and Dwight Gooden. Boxset Contents: 6 games on 6 DVDs. Released on DVD: May 26, 2009. Available at Amazon.com

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