HALL OF FAMER SANDY KOUFAX
June 19, 2014INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
Sandy Koufax combined a powerful fastball with a jug handle curve that froze opposing batters making him one of the most dominant pitchers in the National League for over 10 years. Koufax threw four no-hitters including a perfect game. He shocked the baseball world after the 1966 season, when it the age of 30, coming off a 27 win season, he announced his retirement because of arthritis in his arm. Koufax did struggle early in his career because of his lack of control. After just six seasons he won 36 games and lost 40 and had a career that seem to be going nowhere.
In 1961, Koufax worked hard at getting control of his curveball so we could set up his fastball and vice versa. He went 18 and 13 is first full season. In 1962, he went 14 and seven with a league leading earned run average of 2.57. In the next four seasons Koufax won 25, 19, 26 and 27 games. In his final six seasons in major league baseball Koufax won 129 games and lost only 47. He struck out 300 or more batters three years in a row and became the first pitcher to accomplish that feat and also set the single-season strikeout record of 382 in 1965.
In his last six years in major league baseball Koufax 15 ERA titles and led the National League in strikeouts four times and had four no-hitters and won the Cy Young Award three times. He was also named the league’s most valuable player in 1963. His 27 wins in 1966 were the most by a left-handed pitcher in the 20th century later tied by Steve Carlton in 1972. On September 9 of 1965, Koufax threw his perfect game against the Chicago Cubs. It was one of the most remarkable pitching matchups in baseball history. His opponent Cubs left-hander Bob Hendley through a one hitter that day.
Koufax went four and three in World Series competition with an earned run average of 0.95. Koufax was inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame in 1972 becoming the halls youngest inductee.