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Sandy Koufax

Sandy Koufax

Position(s):
P
Nicknames:
The Left Arm of God
Born:
December 30, 1935
Bats:
Right
Throws:
Left
Height:
6' 2"
Weight:
210 lbs
Major League Debut:
6-24-1955 with BRO
Allstar Selections:
1963 BR, 1963 CY, 1963 ML, 1963 MVP, 1963 TC, 1963 TSN, 1963 WsMVP, 1964 TSN, 1965 BR, 1965 CY, 1965 ML, 1965 TC, 1965 TSN, 1965 WsMVP, 1966 CY, 1966 HA, 1966 TC, 1966 TSN
Hall of Fame:
1972

Southpaw Sandy Koufax earned a place among baseball's greatest pitchers with a dominating performance between 1962 and 1966. During that span, he won 111 games and lost 34, led the league in ERA each season (averaging under two earned runs per game), paced the NL in strikeouts (1963, 1965, and 1966) and shutouts (three times), and pitched four no-hitters, including a perfect game in 1965. At the height of his career, traumatic arthritis in his elbow threatened permanent disability and hastened his retirement after the 1966 season.

Unform Number

 

#32 (1955-1966)

 

 

Quotes From

"I think more than anything, I probably remember the last two innings simply because I probably had better stuff, better control those last two innings than I ever had. I went out there and struck out the last six hitters. I don't have any great memory of it that that and the fact that we had to win."  Koufax on his perfect game

"I knew every pitch he was going to throw and still I couldn't hit him."
Willie Mays
"Trying to hit him (Sandy Koufax) was like trying to drink coffee with a fork." --- Willie Stargell

"I can understand how he won 25. What I can't understand is how he lost five."---Yogi Berra, after he faced Koufax in the 1963 World Series.

"He didn't. We lost them for him."---Maury Wills, Dodgers shortstop, told of Berra's comment.

Koufax's own quote on teammate Tommy Davis, who won the NL batting title in 1962 and 1963: "For two years Tommy was the best hitter in baseball. He just didn't get the recognition. He was part of a team that had a lot of good parts to it."

"It's no disgrace to get beat by class."---Bob Hendley, the losing Chicago Cubs pitcher in Koufax's perfect game, after Koufax sent him a gift to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the game---a 1965 NL baseball signed, "What a game!" plus a small handwritten note: "We had a moment, a night, a career. I hope life has been good to you. Sandy." Hendley himself had allowed only 1 run in the game, and nearly matched Koufax.

"A guy that throws what he intends to throw, that's the definition of a good pitcher."---Sandy Koufax

"You are part of an entertainment, but you are not really an entertainer. But I enjoyed it, probably more than people enjoyed watching it. I thank the fans for enjoying it with me."---Sandy Koufax, reviewing his playing career to Washington Post sportswriter Thomas Boswell, in 1979.

"In the end it all comes down to talent. You can talk all you want about intangibles, I just don't know what that means. Talent makes winners, not intangibles. Can nice guys win? Sure, nice guys can win - if they're nice guys with a lot of talent. Nice guys with a little talent finish fourth, and nice guys with no talent finish last."---Sandy Koufax

"Pitching is the art of instilling fear."---Sandy Koufax

"Show me a guy who can't pitch inside and I'll show you a loser."---Sandy Koufax

"The game has a cleanness. If you do a good job, the numbers say so. You don't have to ask anyone or play politics. You don't have to wait for the reviews."---Sandy Koufax

"The only time I really try for a strikeout is when I'm in a jam. If the bases are loaded with none out, for example, then I'll go for a strikeout. But most of the time I try to throw to spots. I try to get them to pop up or ground out. On a strikeout I might have to throw five or six pitches, sometimes more if there are foul-offs. That tires me. So I just try to get outs. That's what counts - outs. You win with outs, not strikeouts."---Sandy Koufax

"Either he throws the fastest ball I've ever seen, or I'm going blind." --- Richie Ashburn

"He throws a 'radio ball,' a pitch you hear, but you don't see." --- Gene Mauch

"Koufax--he'll never amount to much." --Tommy Lasorda, after pitching his last for the Brooklyn Dodgers

"I don’t know if cortisone is good for you or not. But to take a shot every other ball game is more than I wanted to do and to walk around with a constant upset stomach because of the pills and to be high half the time during a ball game because you’re taking painkillers, I don’t want to have to do that." ---Sandy Koufax at a 1966 press conference explaining why he chose to retire from baseball following the 1966 season.

Replaced By

Bill Singer

Best Season

The left-hander went 26-8, with a 2.04 ERA, eight shutouts, and 27 complete games. Koufax set a major league record with 382 strikeouts.Si Cover

Facts:

Sandy Koufax posted records of 26-8 and 27-9 in his final two seasons. Therefore, he was 18 games over .500 each season. Since 1950, no other pitcher has put together back-to-back seasons of as many as 16 games over .500, let alone their last two seasons in the game.

In 1965, Sandy Koufax pitched 323 innings and did not hit one batter. That is a big league record.

Strengths

Fastball and curve.

Weaknesses

Early in his career he had a lot of difficulty with his control. According to Lou Brock: "Koufax couldn't field bunts well or hold runners on base too well. Trouble was, nobody got on base too often."

Milestones

Some experts have speculated that had Koufax not been forced to retire due to arm ptoblems, he would have topped 300 victories and 4,500 strikeouts.

Feats

  • Koufax threw four no-hitters, including a perfect game in 1965...
  • August 27, 1955: Dodger bonus baby Koufax fans 14 Redlegs in a 7-0 win, as the two-team total of 23 strikeouts ties a record...
  • June 22, 1959: Koufax fans 16 Phillies, to set a new record for a night game, and wins 6-2...
  • August 31, 1959: Koufax breaks Dizzy Dean's NL mark and ties Bob Feller's major-league record of 18 strikeouts in a game against the Giants as 82,974 fans watch. He also totals 31 Ks for two consecutive games to set a new ML mark.
  • September 6, 1959: Koufax runs his streak to 41 strikeouts in three games, for another ML record...
  • September 15, 1961: With 10 strikeouts in an 11-2 win against the Braves, Koufax has 243 strikeouts, most ever for a NL lefty...
  • September 27, 1961: Koufax fans seven Phils in the course of a 2-1 win to set a NL record for strikeouts in a season with 269. This surpasses Christy Mathewson's 267 in 1903, which was accomplished in 367 innings pitched, as opposed to Koufax's remarkable 255.
  • April 24, 1962: Koufax ties the modern ML record he shares with Feller by fanning 18 Cubs in nine innings...
  • October 2, 1963: In the World Series opener, Koufax fans the first five Yankee batters he faces en route to a WS record 15...
  • April 18, 1964: Koufax fans the side on nine pitches in the 3rd inning, becoming the first pitcher to do it twice...
  • October 2, 1965: Koufax's 2-1 win against the Braves clinches the NL pennant for the Dodgers. With 13 strikeouts, Koufax ups his modern ML single season record to 382...
  • September 29, 1966: Koufax pitches a four-hitter, beats the Cards 2-1, and becomes the first ML pitcher to achieve a third 300-strikeout season since Amos Rusie in 1890-1892.

Pitchers Who Struck Out the Side on Nine Pitches in the First Inning

Sandy Koufax, June 30, 1962 Pedro Martinez, May 18, 2002 Rick Helling, June 20, 2006 Source: Trent McCotter

Notes

According to research done by SABR member Bill Deane, Koufax had a 1.37 career ERA at Dodger Stadium. His ERA in other parks (including L.A. Coliseum and Ebbets Field) was 3.38.

 

Nine Other Players Who Debuted in 1955
Brooks Robinson
Roberto Clemente
Ken Boyer
Rocky Colavito
Clete Boyer
Elston Howard
Sandy Koufax
Jim Bunning
Bill Virdon

Hall of Fame Voting
Year     Election     Votes     Pct
1972     BBWAA     344     86.9%

No-Hitter
6/30/1962: For LA (N) vs. NYM (N), 5-0 at LA. 9 innings pitched.
5/11/1963: For LA (N) vs. SF (N), 1-0 at LA. 9 innings pitched.
6/4/1964: For LA (N) vs. PHI (N), 3-0 at PHI. 9 innings pitched.
9/9/1965: For LA (N) vs. CHI (N), 1-0 at LA. 9 innings pitched.

Post-Season Appearances
1959 World Series
1963 World Series
1965 World Series
1966 World Series

Post-Season Notes
Koufax pitched a complete game, three-hit shutout in Game Seven of the '65 World Series against the Twins.

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Tagged:
1963 World Series, 1965 World Series, 1966 World Series, 1971 Hall of Fame, Brooklyn Dodgers, Cy Young Award, Ebbets Field, Hall of Fame, Los Angeles Dodgers, NL MVP 1963, No-hitter, Sandy Koufax, University of Cincinnati

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