A Star is Born
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK •
AUGUST 27, 1955
A young, raw Brooklyn born basketball star from the University of Cincinnati showed some of his promise on this date in 1955. Sandy Koufax got his second major league start for the Brooklyn Dodgers and two-hit the Cincinnati Reds 7-0. The 19-year old struck out 14.
It took a while for a raw Koufax to be polished into a gem. He didn’t hit his stride until 1961, his seventh season. Wild early in his career, Koufax became one of the best control power pitchers in history. He threw seventeen wild pitches in 159 innings in 1958, but only six in 311 innings in 1963.
Once he put it all together, Koufax dominated. He was 129-47 from 1961 to 66. He won the Cy Young award in 1963, 1965, 1966 by unanimous votes. All three seasons he led the majors in wins, strikeouts and ERA – the pitching Triple Crown – and was MVP of the World Series in ’63 and ‘65. Koufax threw four no-hitters, one a perfect game. Here’s Koufax in action:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dm8oHYRS6hA. His career ended early at age 31 when arthritis in his throwing elbow threatened permanent disability.
As a kid, Koufax showed more promise in basketball, and got a scholarship to the
Cincinnati. While there, he pitched a few games for the
Cincinnati baseball team striking out 51, but walking 30 in 31 innings. A Dodger scout noticed, and he eventually got a bonus to leave the
Cincinnati and the basketball team for baseball.