Sturdivant dies at 78

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Tom Sturdivant, who pitched the New York Yankees to victory in Game 4 of the 1956 World Series on the day before Don Larsen's famed perfect game, has died. He was 78.

Sturdivant threw a complete game in a 6-2 win against the Brooklyn Dodgers on Oct. 7, 1956, to even the best-of-seven series at 2-2 and set the stage for the only perfect game in World Series history. Whitey Ford, Sturdivant, Larsen, Bob Turley and Johnny Kucks threw five straight complete games in that series -- a feat that hasn't been accomplished since.

Sturdivant was a member of the Yankees teams that played in the World Series in three straight years, beginning in 1955. He went 16-8 in 1956 and 16-6 in 1957, when he led the American League in won-lost percentage and was second with a 2.54 ERA.

He hurt his arm the following year and spent the rest of his career pitching with six different teams -- Kansas City, Boston, Washington, Pittsburgh, Detroit and the New York Mets.

He finished his 10-year career in 1964 with a record of 59-51 and a 3.74 ERA. He died early Saturday at INTEGRIS Southwest Medical Center in his native Oklahoma City, said hospital spokeswoman Brooke Cayot.

Cayot said the hospital could not release the cause of death.

Services are planned Tuesday morning at Grace Community Baptist Church in south Oklahoma City, near where Sturdivant attended Capitol Hill High School.