Garth Brooks’ connection with the only perfect game in World Series history turned into a home run for underprivileged kids.
Brooks’ linkage goes back to Oct. 8, 1956, when Don Larsen of the New York Yankees tossed a perfect game against the Brooklyn Dodgers, retiring 27 batters in a row.
The last out came when Dodgers pinch hitter Dale Mitchell took a called third strike.
Until last Wednesday, when Philadelphia Phillies ace Roy Halladay threw a no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds in his postseason debut, Larsen owned big league baseball’s only no-hitter in postseason play.
Brooks met Mitchell’s son, Bo Mitchell, in Denver in 1996. That introduction of fellow Oklahomans led to the formation of a charity for children, with more than 1,000 professional athletes getting involved.
Their combined efforts have raised $80 million for what is now known as Teammates for Kids.
“I grew up with a major league star so I always wanted to be a major league player,” said Mitchell, whose father was a .312 lifetime hitter over 11 seasons. “I signed with the St. Louis Cardinals but never made it out of the minors, but Garth got me to spring training.
“We had the right idea, but without Garth as a catalyst, it never would have happened,” Mitchell said.
After Halladay’s no-hitter Mitchell put in a call to Larsen, now 81. Larsen’s reaction: “I knew somebody would do it, I just didn’t know when.”
Dale Mitchell, who died in 1987 at age 65, “went to his grave saying the pitch was a ball,” said his son. One of baseball’s most feared contact hitters, Mitchell had struck out only 119 times In 3,986 big league at-bats, a 34-1 ratio that ranks seventh best in history.
Many years later, Bo Mitchell asked Yogi Berra, who caught the perfect game, about the pitch. “He told me ‘I’m just glad it was called a strike.’ ”
Four years ago, for the 50th anniversary of the perfect game, Larsen had four commemorative rings made: one for his son, one for Berra, one for himself and one for Bo Mitchell.
“I never wear it, but when Halladay did that, I thought this would be a good week to put it back on,” he said.
One more thing, Mitchell said. His daughter married a guy named Andy Larson.
Last Wednesday, Mitchell, 61, watched Halladay’s no-hitter in the company of his grandson, who is named Mitchell Larson.
THE SCENE AND HEARD
A romance involving Motley Crue frontman Vince Neil and KSNV-TV, Channel 3, reporter Alicia Jacobs is heating up on ice. For the second time in less than a week, they were spotted ice skating Tuesday at the Las Vegas Ice Center on South Flamingo. They’ve been seen dining at T Bones Chophouse (Red Rock Resort) and Sedona in recent days. Neil and his wife, Lia, split this summer after getting married here in 2005. Jacobs dated Grammy-winning music producer David Foster for about a year after meeting in 2005 and she was briefly linked to illusionist Criss Angel. …
Las Vegas chef Julian Serrano was in New York City on Monday to pick up an award for his new tapas restaurant at Aria in CityCenter. Esquire Magazine food critic John Mariani named it one of 12 best new restaurants in the U.S. It was the only Las Vegas restaurant among the 12. It was the second time around for Serrano. Twelve years ago, he received the award for Picasso at Bellagio, which went on to win consecutive five stars from Mobil Guide in 2000 and 2001. …
Interesting timing on the Oct. 1 wedding of Donny Osmond’s oldest son, Donny Jr. That was the day producer Harold “Chip” Lightman went public with his court fight with Donny and Marie in an orchestrated media push.
A coincidence? Probably not.
Soap legend Susan Lucci of “All My Children,” serenaded with “My Girl” by Human Nature (Imperial Palace) on Monday.
THE PUNCH LINE
“An autograph seemed so impersonal.” — From David Letterman’s Top Ten Brett Favre Excuses.
Norm Clarke can be reached at (702) 383-0244 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Find additional sightings and more online at www.normclarke.com.