Sandy Koufax

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Sure, nice guys can win — if they're nice guys with a lot of talent.

Sandy Koufax (born Sanford Braun on 30 December 1935) is an American left-handed former pitcher in Major League Baseball who played his entire career for the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers, from 1955 to 1966.


If you do a good job, the numbers say so. You don't have to ask anyone or play politics. You don't have to wait for the reviews.
  • I don't regret one minute of the twelve years I've spent in baseball, but I could regret one season too many. [...] I've got a lot of years to live after baseball and I would like to live them with complete use of my body.
  • I don’t know if cortisone is good for you or not. But to take a shot every other ball game is more than I wanted to do and to walk around with a constant upset stomach because of the pills and to be high half the time during a ball game because you’re taking painkillers … I don’t want to have to do that [...] I don't regret one minute of the last 12 years but I think I would regret the one year that was too many.
  • Mays always told me how hard it was to get a hit off me and every time I looked up, he was on second base. Yet, even with Mays, I had an idea what to do. When I pitched to Clemente and Aaron, I had no idea. They seemed to hit everything.
    • As quoted in "Koufax Still a Champion" by Les Biederman, in The Pittsburgh Press (May 8, 1967)
  • The game has a cleanness. If you do a good job, the numbers say so. You don't have to ask anyone or play politics. You don't have to wait for the reviews.
    • As quoted in "Koufax") by Thomas Boswell, in The Washington Post (March 21, 1979)
  • Pitching is the art of instilling fear.
    • As quoted in Involvements : One Journalist's Place in the World (1984) by Colman McCarthy, p. 243
  • A guy that throws what he intends to throw, that's the definition of a good pitcher.
    • As quoted in 22 Success Lessons from Baseball (2003) by Ron White, p. 43
  • In the end it all comes down to talent. You can talk all you want about intangibles, I just don't know what that means. Talent makes winners, not intangibles. Can nice guys win? Sure, nice guys can win — if they're nice guys with a lot of talent. Nice guys with a little talent finish fourth, and nice guys with no talent finish last.
    • As quoted in Total Baseball : The Official Encyclopedia of Major League Baseball (2001) by John Thorn, p. 2468
  • Show me a guy who can't pitch inside and I'll show you a loser.
    • As quoted in Late Innings (1992) by Roger Angell, p. 358
  • The only time I really try for a strikeout is when I'm in a jam. If the bases are loaded with none out, for example, then I'll go for a strikeout. But most of the time I try to throw to spots. I try to get them to pop up or ground out. On a strikeout I might have to throw five or six pitches, sometimes more if there are foul-offs. That tires me. So I just try to get outs. That's what counts — outs. You win with outs, not strikeouts.
    • As quoted by Jack Orr in My Greatest Day in Baseball, and Baseball's Greatest Quotations : An Illustrated Treasury (2008) by Paul Dickson, p. 302

Quotes about Koufax[edit]

  • It's no disgrace to get beat by class.
    • Bob Hendley, the losing Chicago Cubs pitcher in Koufax's perfect game, after Koufax sent him a gift to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the game — a 1965 NL baseball signed, "What a game!" plus a small handwritten note: "We had a moment, a night, a career. I hope life has been good to you. Sandy." Hendley himself pitched a one-hitter in the game, allowing one unearned run. American Jews and America's Game: Voices of a Growing Legacy in Baseball, p. 17
  • It sounded like somebody firing a pistol in a canyon . . . pow, pow, pow. That was the sound of the fastball popping Rube's mitt in that empty ballpark. We all came in to watch this kid.
  • If there was one game I had to win and I could pick any pitcher in any era, I'd pick Sandy. I'd sit in the bullpen and watch him paint that outside corner with a 95 mile-per-hour fastball and throw curves that looked like they were dropping out of the third deck. I'd think, "I'm gonna relieve this guy? With my stuff?"
  • Trying to hit him was like trying to drink coffee with a fork.
    • Willie Stargell as quoted by Ray Fitzgerald of the Boston Globe in Baseball Digest (May 1972)

External links[edit]

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