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9-9-1965: Sandy Koufax and the perfect game

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Sandy Koufax won three unanimous Cy Young Awards (1963, 1965 and 1966).  

He was  one of the greatest pitchers in major league history:  165 wins, completed 137 and finished with a 2.76 ERA.    From 1961 to 1966, he won 129 games and five ERA titles.   They are arguably the greatest six seasons of any modern baseball pitcher. 

The story of Sandy Koufax added another chapter on this day in 1965:    

On September 9, 1965, at the peak of his baseball career, Koufax took the mound against fellow lefty Bob Hendley of the Chicago Cubs, and a pitcher’s duel for the ages ensued.

The Cubs were held scoreless, while the Dodgers scored just one run, in the fifth inning. Dodger Lou Johnson walked to lead off the inning, and then advanced to second on a sacrifice. He stole third and then scored when the Cubs catcher fumbled one of Hendley’s throws.

As it turned out, one run was all Koufax needed to bring home the victory. His fastballs, which seemed to rise as they reached the plate, whizzed past batters. His curveball was typically devastating, buckling batters at the knees, almost always crossing the plate as a strike after following its parabolic path.

As he closed in on a perfect game, Koufax faced the middle of the Cubs order.

He struck out Ron Santo and Ernie Banks in the eighth before striking out the side in the ninth to secure his first perfect game.    

Koufax retired after the 1966 season because of arm troubles.

 

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Written by scantojr

September 9, 2016 at 11:30 am

Posted in Baseball Hall of Fame

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