Tuesday, September 9, 2014

September 9, 1965: Sandy Koufax Achieves Perfection

     On September 9, 1965, at 9:46 p.m. in the City of Angels, Los Angeles, California, Sandy Koufax achieved perfection, by striking out Chicago Cubs pinch hitter Harvey Kuenn for the 27th out in a 1-0 win in front of 29,139 fans at Dodger Stadium. It was 27 up and 27 down for the lefty who had already thrown three no hitters in his career. The fourth was more than a no-no. It was perfect.

     Koufax and Dodgers needed perfection to beat the Cubs that day as their starter Bob Hendley delivered with a one hit performance of his own. The game's only run was unearned, as Lou Johnson worked a walk out of Hendley, then moved over to second on a sacrifice, before coming around to score on a wild throw. Johnson also broke up Hendley's bid for a no-no with a seventh inning double. While Hendley had misfortune, Koufax was dealing. Absolutely untouchable as he struck out 14 men, which included the last six men he faced. I consider the call by Vin Scully piece of art, as he painted a picture with words that is very easy to see in yourmind's eye. Truly a thing of beauty: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJdli-ONL-8

     The perfect game proved to be the last no-no in what was an illustrious career. Albeit short. The next year was his last despite the fact he would have been viewed in his proverbial prime. Arm problems had caught him at an early age. His four no-hitters stood as a record until Nolan Ryan surpassed him by throwing his fifth in 1981. Ryan holds the current record with seven.

Check out one of Sandy Koufax's legendary box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/LAN/LAN196509090.shtml

The amazing piece of sports art that is featured with today's fact can be found here: http://www.fascinationstart.com/artwork/Stephen_Holland_.sku19314 

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