Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

Giants News arrow-downArrow Down icon Arrow Up icon

Bolin recalls SF teammate Larsen, AKA 'Froggy'

@goodforball
January 2, 2020

SAN FRANCISCO -- To the San Francisco Giants of long-bygone days, Don Larsen -- who died Wednesday at the age of 90 -- truly stood out among his teammates. And it had nothing to do with his singular pitching accomplishments. As fellow right-hander Bob Bolin recalled Thursday, Larsen liked to

SAN FRANCISCO -- To the San Francisco Giants of long-bygone days, Don Larsen -- who died Wednesday at the age of 90 -- truly stood out among his teammates. And it had nothing to do with his singular pitching accomplishments.

As fellow right-hander Bob Bolin recalled Thursday, Larsen liked to head for the hinterlands during his spare time and catch frogs – or “gig” them, in hunting parlance. Bolin said that Larsen’s wife, Corrine, had developed a tasty marinade to use in preparing frog’s legs.

“They were tender and they were good,” Bolin said.

In the wake of Larsen’s passing, Bolin fondly remembered Larsen, who gained everlasting fame for the perfect game he pitched for the New York Yankees against the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1956 World Series. Nicknamed “Gooney Bird” when he played on other clubs, Larsen was known as “Froggy” among the Giants for the prey he speared.

Bolin said that Larsen served frog legs as an appetizer, midnight snack or main course, depending on circumstances. Regardless of which option Larsen chose, he made sure he had plenty of legs available.

“We stayed up until two, three or four in the morning I don’t know how many times,” Bolin said. He and his wife lived alongside the Larsens at the same apartment complex in San Mateo, a few miles south of Candlestick Park, the Giants’ former home.

Acquired by the Giants in a six-player trade from the White Sox on Nov. 30, 1961, Larsen pitched exclusively in relief for the first time in his career during his San Francisco tenure. Larsen made 101 appearances from 1962 through early in the 1964 season for the Giants, compiling a 12-12 record with a 3.86 ERA and 14 saves.

Larsen earned the decision in two of the Giants’ biggest games during their 1962 National League pennant-winning season. He pitched a scoreless eighth inning in the third game of the playoff series at Los Angeles, where the Giants’ four-run, ninth-inning rally propelled them into the World Series. He also relieved Bolin in the sixth inning of Game 4 of the Series to retire Tony Kubek and leave the bases loaded. The Giants proceeded to win, 7-3, on Chuck Hiller’s seventh-inning grand slam.

Chris Haft has covered the Major Leagues since 1991 and has worked for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @goodforball.