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MLB Legends: Sandy Koufax

When baseball fans think of Jewish baseball players, some names that are thought of are Hank Greenberg, Shawn Green, Ron Bloomberg, and Ryan Braun. However, the biggest one that had the biggest impact on baseball during the 1950’s and the 1960’s was Los Angeles Dodgers legend Sandy Koufax. He was with the Dodgers during their time in Brooklyn and would join them in 1957 as the Dodgers, and the Giants would leave New York and venture out to California.

He was born in 1935 in Brooklyn, New York to Jewish parents. Before beginning his legendary career with the Dodgers, he would end up getting tryouts with the Pittsburgh Pirates and the New York Giants. But the Dodgers liked what they saw when it was there turn and pulled the trigger to sign him. He would end up making his MLB debut in June of 1955, which would also be the same year the Brooklyn Dodgers would end up finally defeating the New York Yankees to capture the 1955 World Series. This is where they would get named “The Boys of Summer.”

He would go on to play until the mid-1960’s and would build up a legendary resume that would get him to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972. The Hall of Fame in 1972 welcomed Early Wynn, Yogi Berra, and Sandy Koufax into their hall. As far as Sandy’s career goes, he had a record of 165-87 with an ERA of 2.76. He would also have over 2,000 strikeouts for his eleven-year career. It should also be noted of what else Sandy would go on to accomplish during his career. He was a seven-time all-star, four-time World Series champion, three-time Cy Young Award winner, two-time World Series MVP, three-time triple crown winner for pitching; he also would go on to pitch four no-hitters and a perfect game on September 9, 1965. He also has his number retired in Los Angeles and was named to MLB All-Century team and the All-Time team.

He was also the first pitcher to pitch four no-hitters and was the eighth pitcher to pitch a perfect game. Although Sandy Koufax only played eleven seasons and was cut short due to arthritis in his left elbow, he still had a remarkable career. What it also interested to note about Sandy Koufax was his best years were in 1963,1965, and 1966. He won the Cy Young Awards those years and would also win the NL Triple Crown Awards in those years. He ended up leading the NL in wins, strikeouts, and ERA.

There was one decision that he made that ended up gaining him the national spoBeforeGame 1 of the 1965 World Series, Sandy Koufax was penciled by manager Walt Alston, to start the game. But it happened to have fallen on Yom Kippur,o ne of the most holiest Jewish holidays in the year. In a nutshell, Jewish people are not allowed to eat or drink for several hours. One thing that should be mentioned about Koufax was he was a very religious person. Don Drysdale would end up pitching in Game 1. Unfortunately, the Dodgers would end up losing that Game, 8-2.

This was said earlier on, but it needs to be repeated. Although Sandy Koufax pitched a rather short eleven years, he still pitched a great career. I am not sure if we will ever see another Sandy Koufax in MLB.

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at robert.cobb@theinscribermag.com