Nobody ever threw a baseball better than Sandy Koufax. He dominated the game -- and the ball, making it rise, break, sing. Then, after his best season, in 1966, he was gone, retired at age thirty, leaving behind a reputation as the game's greatest lefty and most misunderstood man. The Brooklyn boy whom the Dodgers signed as "the Great Jewish Hope" will forever be known for his refusal to pitch the opening game of the 1965 World Series because it fell on Yom Kippur. Forty years later, Koufax stands apart and alone, a legend who declines his own celebrity. In Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy, Jane Leavy dispels the mystery to discover a man more than worthy of the myth.
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No immortal in the history of baseball retired so young, so well, or so completely as Sandy Koufax. After compiling a remarkable record from 1962 to 1966 that saw him lead the National League in ERA all five years, win three Cy Young awards, and pitch four no-hitters including a perfect game, Koufax essentially disappeared. Save for his induction into the Hall of Fame and occasional appearances at the Dodgers training camp, Koufax has remained unavailable, unassailable, and unsullied, in the process becoming much more than just the best pitcher of his generation. He is the Jewish boy from Brooklyn, who refused to pitch the opening game of the 1965 World Series on Yom Kippur, defining himself as a man who placed faith over fame. This act made him the standard to which Jewish parents still hold their children. Except for his autobiography (published in 1966), Koufax has resolutely avoided talking about himself. But through sheer doggedness that even Koufax came to marvel at, Jane Leavy was able to gain his trust to the point where they talked regularly over the three years Leavy reported her book. With Koufax′s blessing, Leavy interviewed nearly every one of his former teammates, opponents, and friends, and emerged with a portrait of the artist that is as thorough and stylish as was his command on the pitching mound.About the Author:
Jane Leavy is an award-winning former sportswriter and feature writer for the Washington Post. She is the author of Sandy Koufax and the comic novel Squeeze Play, called “the best novel ever written about baseball” by Entertainment Weekly. She lives in Washington, D.C.
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