Sunday, July 16, 2017
Sandy Koufax's birthday gift to me
Maybe nine or 10 months ago, social media sports folks were figuring out what notable events happened the day they were born.
I'm a sucker for stuff like that and I also happen to be blessed with a summer birthday, so I looked it up because baseball was surely involved.
I could not have been more pleased with what I found.
On the day I was born, Sandy Koufax shut out the Cubs, 3-0, on a four-hitter in front of a crowd of 47,947 fans at Dodger Stadium on a Friday night. Koufax struck out nine and walked two. He allowed only one extra base hit, a double.
The victory extended his record to 16-3 on the season and kept the Dodgers -- involved in a pennant race with the Reds at the time -- tied for first place in the National League.
But there was more to Koufax's game that day.
Koufax, known for being a lousy hitter, was a key contributor to both run-scoring innings for the Dodgers.
In the second inning, rookie Jim Lefebvre hit a two-out single. Koufax followed with a single of his own. Maury Wills than reached on an error by the first baseman, allowing Lefebvre to score. Jim Gilliam followed with another single, scoring Koufax.
In the sixth inning, Lefebvre singled again with two outs. And Koufax followed again with a single. Maury Wills also singled, scoring Lefebvre.
Koufax was 2-for-3 that night.
So for one, wonderful, midsummer evening, Koufax was a star from the mound and the plate.
That day was July 16, 1965.
Less than two months later, Koufax would pitch a perfect game (against those same Cubs) for his fourth no-hitter. A month after that, the Dodgers would win the World Series.
Seems like I was meant to be a Dodger fan, huh?
Enjoy the rest of your day. I'm certainly enjoying mine.