In baseball history, “1963” can be considered the “Year of Koufax”, and though it would start a four year stretch that few, if any, have had in Major League baseball, this was the season that truly introduced the “Left Arm of God” to the masses.
So today we have a 1973 “Turn Back the Clock” card celebrating the 10th anniversary of Koufax and his breakout season:
Though he led the National League in earned run average the year before,
and set the new league mark with 269 strikeouts in 1961, Koufax really
took over the game in 1963 when he posted a 25-5 record to go along with
a 1.88 ERA and 306 strikeouts, all league leading numbers for the
pitching Triple Crown, as well as 11 shutouts and a ridiculous 0.875
WHIP, easily earning him the first of three Cy Young Awards and a Most
Valuable Player Award.
As if that wasn’t enough, the guy would then pitch two complete game
wins against the New York Yankees in the World Series, helping the
Dodgers win the championship by striking out 23 batters over 18-innings,
finishing with a nifty 1.50 ERA, giving him another award that season,
the World Series MVP.
It’s amazing to think that for his career, Koufax posted an ERA of 0.95
in the World Series over eight games, seven of which were starts and
four of which were complete games, and only ended up with a 4-3 record!
Regardless, over the next four seasons until forced to retire after the
1966 season, Koufax posted a record of 97-27! The man almost AVERAGED 25
wins a year over four years!
And let’s not forget five straight ERA crowns between 1962-1966, three
shutout crowns, and three seasons of 300 or more strikeouts when NO
OTHER N.L. pitcher even reached that lofty number ONCE.
Koufax has always been one of my favorite baseball icons since I was a
kid growing up in the very same neighborhood he grew up in, Bensonhurst.
Brooklyn, just blocks from his high school, Lafayette.