Sandy Koufax “the Left Arm of God”
Sandy Koufax is considered one of the greatest pitchers ever to play the game. His nickname was “The Left Arm of God” He played his entire career with the Brooklyn and LA Dodgers retiring in 1966 because of arthritis in his left elbow at age 30.
One of the things Sandy Koufax is remembered for was his decision not to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series because it fell on Yom Kippur. It was a conflict between professional pressures and personal beliefs. Koufax was inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame in 1972 – the youngest ever inducted at the time at 36 years old.
Story about Sandy Koufax
Here is one of the great stories about Koufax that I found on Wired “Cruel Curveball Science; Nasty Koufax” BY DAVID DOBBS
“Koufax had to face the terrifying Mickey Mantle. The book on Mantle, Leavy explains, was never ever ever EVER throw him the curve. For he was so strong in his upper body and arms that even if you fooled him badly and got him to commit his hips too early, he could still crush the ball as long as his hands were still back. So don’t throw him the hook. Just don’t. And if you can throw 100 mph, like Koufax could, why throw the curve?
Because you’re Koufax.
So in the first game in which they meet — Game 1 of the 1963 World Series, Dodgers v Yankees — Koufax faces Mantle three times. On the first at-bat he strikes out Mantle throwing nothing but fastballs.
Mantle’s second time up, Koufax gets two strikes on him. Everyone in the park is thinking heat. But Koufax shakes off the fastball sign once, twice. Catcher catches on, puts down two fingers to call for the curve. And Koufax’s curve was a horrid thing to a batter, possibly the best curveball ever, a nose-to-toes diver that just killed batters, flummoxed them utterly, destroyed their minds. Yet still, he’d been told NOT to throw this thing to Mantle. So he decdies he’s going to. And he does.
Ball comes in eye-high, just buzzing … and just before reaching the plate it dives, crossing the plate at Mantle’s knees. Mantle flinches, just the tiniest bit, but never moves the bat. Ump calls strike three. Mantle stands there an extra beat, then turns to the catcher and says, “How the fuck is anybody supposed to hit that shit?” And walks back to the dugout.”
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