Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sandy Koufax and The Aurora County All-Stars

Sandy Koufax. There has never been a baseball player like him. Koufax pitched a no-hitter each season from 1962 to 1965, including a 1-0 perfect game against the Cubs. He led the Dodgers to pennants in 1963, 1965, and 1966, and won the Cy Young Award each year. And in all these years he was plagued by serious injuries to his throwing arm, yet he pitched though the almost-unbearable pain -- at one point his trainers were afraid gangrene was setting in. In THE AURORA COUNTY ALL-STARS, House Jackson, "age 12, Crackerjack baseball pitcher, obedient son, and keeper of his own counsel" wants to be just like his hero, Sandy Koufax. He's a lefty, like Sandy. And his throwing arm has been out of commission for a year... thanks to a girl.

Koufax was my baseball hero in the 1960s. His pitching was not only masterful, it was beautiful... as was Sandy. I was in love with Sandy Koufax. I dreamed of him noticing me in the stands one day and falling madly in love with me. It didn't happen that way. But I did get to write about Koufax in ALL-STARS. You'll see. He was and is an amazing man, a stellar human being; my love was well-placed. Read Jane Leavy's biography of Koufax, and watch this wonderful clip on YouTube of Koufax pitching, from the PBS Baseball series.

Takes your breath away, doesn't it?