Four no hitters including a perfect game. A modern legend acclaimed even by opposing teams" fans. A Jewish icon who refused to pitch on High Holy Days. An elusive, enigmatic hero who left the spotlight at the height of his powers.
"A certain magic still lingers in the name, stirring memories of the sixties supernova whose half-decade of dominance was so brilliant, yet so fleeting. Decades removed from his final game, Koufax's stats still jump from the pages of history like one of his fastballs." (Gruver, 1).
In Koufax, the first book in more than thirty years on the inimitable Sandy Koufax, sportswriter Edward Gruver illuminates the astonishing story of the man many consider the greatest left-handed pitcher of all time. Between 1962 and 1966, he dominated the game as no pitcher before or since. His 382 strikeouts in "65 remain a National League record to this day. Koufax's hopping curve and blazing fastball, sometimes spotted with blood from his ailing hand, confounded hitters while slowly tearing his arm apart. He suffered agonizing arthritis, immersed his inflamed elbow in ice baths following games, and required specially tailored suits to accommodate his bowed left limb. Eventually, the threat to his arm forced the game's premier pitcher to end his career - the same year he led the Dodgers to a second straight World Series appearance. Gruver vividly tells Koufaxs" life story within the framework of his Herculean performance in Game Seven of the "65 Series when, on only two days" rest, he led his team to a 2-0 shutout against Minnesota. Koufax breaks it down pitch-by-pitch recounting each of Koufax's "silent screams" as he let the ball fly against the Twins. Throughout, he weaves in the pitcher's full story, including his experiences growing up as a Jew in Brooklyn, his eye-popping stats and momentous achievements. Based on extensive interviews with friends, former teammates, opponents, and sports journalists, Koufax seeks to reacquaint generations of fans with a larger-than-life player from their youth and introduce a new generation, including myself, to the man once said to have "come down from a higher league.