Wednesday, September 9, 2015

50th Anniversary: Sandy Koufax = Perfect

Most of the season we have been looking back 25 years to the Year of the No-Hitter.  Today we turn the clock back an additional quarter century and find ourselves on the day that Sandy Koufax became the first man to pitch four no-hitters.

That fourth No-Hitter was also a Perfect Game.

2007 UD Masterpieces #17 Sandy Koufax

Love the Image on the card. Four Baseball symbolizing the Four No-Hitters and The 29 year old Sandy Koufax with a reluctant smile that he can't hold back. Hard to believe 13 months later his career would be over.

2007 UD Masterpieces #17 Sandy Koufax (b-side)

The text on the back of the card tells the story of the Perfect Game in which the Dodgers beat the Cubs by the narrowest of margins 1-0. The hard luck loser was journeyman pitcher Bob Hendley who pitched a 1-Hitter giving up only an unearned run.

The Cubs lineup that day featured three future Hall of Famers, Ernie Banks (3 Strikeouts), Billy Williams (2 Ks), and Ron Santo (1 K). Of course on the other side of the ledger there were two Cubbies making their Major League Debut Don Young and future Phillie Bryon Browne.

Notable Dodgers in the Lineup were Maury Williams, Willie Davis, Catcher Jeff Torborg (see below), and Lou Johnson who scored the Dodgers lone Run and got the games only hit.    

I re-read the chapter on Koufax's Game in James Buckley Jr's "Perfect". Couple of interesting things in the article.

1) The Cubs were in LA for one game only, Apparently this was part of the regular schedule NOT a rain out make-up.
2) The final out was a strikeout of Harvey Kuenn who was also the the last out in Koufax's 2nd No-Hitter.
3) The Cubs Bob Hendley pitched to two over the minimum for an 8-inning start, meaning only 53 batters came to the plate combined. The Lowest possible Combined PAs is 52, which has never been done.  
4) The Perfect Game was the 2nd of three called by Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully: Don Larsen, Koufax, and Denny Martinez. Both the Larsen and Martinez Perfectos were versus the Dodgers.

Scully's call of the final 3 outs of the Perfect Game can be heard at If you stay with the recording to the end Vin Scully can be heard in an interview, he notes that he specified the time of day during this broadcast in an effort to add something special to the No-hitter since Sandy Koufax already had 3 recordings of the 9th innings of his no-hitters.

Much of Buckley's essay was derived from an interview with Catcher Jeff Torborg who caught no-hitters in Both Leagues. In addition to the Koufax Perfecto Torborg while with the Angels caught Nolan Ryan's first No-Hitter. He is one of 3 men to have caught No-Hitters in both leagues  - all 3 have caught Perfect Games as well (Gus Triandos - Jim Bunning (NL - Phillies vs Mets) & Hoyt Wilhelm (AL) , and Ron Hassey Len Barker (AL) & Denny Martinez (NL))

Sources and Links
Phungo Sandy Koufax HoF Index
Phungo No-Hitter Card Index 
Perfect - James Buckley Jr 
SABR Baseball Games Project - Mike Huber
Sandy Koufax Time Capsule
Baseball Almanac

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a thousand words

a thousand words
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