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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.
- 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.
- 1966 press conference announcing retirement, as quoted by UPI, in "Sandy Koufax Announces Retirement from Baseball at News Meeting" by Alex Kahn (UPI), in The Pittsfield Berkshire Eagle (November 19, 1966)
- 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
- I'll always remember that first pitch. It was a fastball that looked like it would hit the dirt in front of the plate. Then, all of a sudden, it rose for a knee-high strike. As soon as I saw that fastball, the hair raised up on my arms. The only other time the hair on my arms ever raised up was in Rome when I saw Michelangelo's paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
- Al Campanis, speaking with reporters in January 1979, regarding Koufax's first tryout with the Dodgers, in which Campanis served as a simulated batter, with coach Rube Walker catching; as quoted in "There Are Players, And Stars--and Koufax" by Ray Didinger (Knight-Ridder), in The Chicago Tribune (August 17, 1986); and paraphrased and quoted in "Sandy Koufax and the Sistine Chapel" by Dave Anderson in The New York Times (January 28, 1979)
- 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)
- Too bad about Koufax's arm. He can't shave. Or brush his hair. All he can do is pitch.