This is the 50th anniversary of pitcher Sandy Koufax’s final season in baseball, in which he walked away at age 30 after his 27–9 won-loss record carried the Los Angeles Dodgers to their third World Series in four years.
With a half century of perspective, I think I can finally make sense of some of the facets of the Koufax conundrum.
Was he really that good? How did he become so overpowering? And why was he so famous?
He certainly was famous, especially to a 7-year-old in Los Angeles. My 1966 Sandy Koufax Topps card was the pride of my baseball-card collection. The rumor among the other kids on my block was that Koufax lived in the mysterious house on the corner. (He didn’t.)