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Episode 2221

Sandy Koufax
Sun, 2023-Jun-04 00:06 UTC
Length - 5:04

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Welcome to featured Wiki of the Day where we read the summary of the featured Wikipedia article every day.

The featured article for Sunday, 4 June 2023 is Sandy Koufax.

Sanford Koufax (; born Sanford Braun; December 30, 1935) is an American former left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB) who played his entire career for the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers from 1955 to 1966. He has been hailed as one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history. After joining the major leagues at age 19, having never pitched a game in the minor leagues, the first half of his career was marred with inconsistency and control problems, posting a record of just 36–40 with a 4.10 earned run average; he was a member of World Series champions in both Brooklyn and Los Angeles, though he did not appear in any of the team's Series wins despite pitching brilliantly in the 1959 series. After making adjustments prior to the 1961 season to improve his control and getting more regular playing time, Koufax quickly rose to become the most dominant pitcher in Major League Baseball before arthritis in his left elbow ended his career prematurely at age 30. Koufax was an All-Star in each of his last six seasons, leading the National League (NL) in earned run average each of his last five years, in strikeouts four times, in wins and shutouts three times each, and in winning percentage, innings pitched and complete games twice each; he was the first NL pitcher in 20 years to post an earned run average below 2.00, doing so three times. After setting the modern NL record in 1961 with 269 strikeouts, he became the first pitcher in 17 years and the first left-hander since 1904 to strike out 300 batters, with 306 in 1963. In 1965, he set a then-major league record with 382 strikeouts (it was broken by Nolan Ryan in 1973, but remains the top mark for NL pitchers and left-handers). He was the first pitcher to record a 300-strikeout season three times, and twice tied a modern record by striking out 18 batters in a game.

He won the Cy Young Award in 1963, 1965, and 1966 by unanimous votes, winning the Triple Crown and leading the Dodgers to a pennant in each of those years; he was the first three-time winner of the award, and the only pitcher to do so when a single award was given instead of one for each league. He was also named the National League Most Valuable Player in 1963, and was runner-up in 1965 and 1966, behind Willie Mays and Roberto Clemente, respectively. Koufax was the first major league pitcher to throw four no-hitters and, in 1965, became the sixth pitcher and the first left-hander in the modern era (post-1900) to pitch a perfect game. He was named the World Series MVP, leading the Dodgers to titles in 1963 and 1965. He is also notable for being one of the outstanding Jewish athletes in American sports; Koufax's decision not to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series because it fell on the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur, like Hank Greenberg before him, garnered national attention as a conflict between religion and society, and remains a notable event in American Jewish history. At the time of his retirement, Koufax's career earned run average of 2.76 trailed only Whitey Ford among pitchers with at least 2,000 innings pitched since 1925; his .655 winning percentage ranked third among both left-handers and modern NL pitchers. Despite his comparatively short career, his 2,396 career strikeouts ranked seventh in Major League history at the time, trailing only Warren Spahn (2,583) among left-handers; his 40 shutouts were tied for ninth in modern NL history. He was the first pitcher in history to average more than nine strikeouts per nine innings pitched, and the first to allow fewer than seven hits per nine innings pitched. At age 36, Koufax was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 1972, becoming the youngest player ever elected.

This recording reflects the Wikipedia text as of 00:06 UTC on Sunday, 4 June 2023.

For the full current version of the article, see Sandy Koufax on Wikipedia.

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