"I became a good pitcher when I stopped trying to make them miss the ball and started trying to make them hit it."
— Sandy Koufax
Sandy Koufax was not only one of baseball's greatest pitchers, but he was also a man of principles. Koufax was signed to his hometown Brooklyn Dodgers in 1955 and started pitching regularly for them when they moved to Los Angeles. In 1961, with hard-won control and a wicked curve ball, Koufax won 18 games and triggered one of the most exciting five-season performances ever seen on a mound. This included three seasons of 25 wins, the lowest earned-run average in baseball for five straight years, a no-hitter in each of four consecutive seasons, and three World Series championships. In 1965, Koufax racked up 382 strikeouts—a tally only bested by Nolan Ryan.
Koufax's influence went beyond the mound. In 1965, he chose not to pitch the opening game of the World Series because the game fell on Yom Kippur, a Jewish holy day. Some criticized him for missing such an important game, however, Koufax came back to play in three of the remaining six games, pitching a shut-out victory in the seventh and deciding game to win the Series.
Stricken with a debilitating arthritic condition, Koufax retired after the 1966 season at the age of 30.
Name: Sanford Koufax
Born: Brooklyn, New York, 1935–