Sandy Koufax returned to Dodgers spring training for the first time in more than 20 years. Koufax, arguably the best left-handed pitcher in the MLB, is back in blue as a special adviser to owner Mark Walter.
Koufax, now 77, took to the field to teach his sport. He joked around and appeared to relish being back on the baseball scene in the spring sunshine.
The Washington Post reports that the Hall of Famer stated of his return:
“I enjoy it. I’ve always enjoyed it. I like talking pitching. It may be the only thing I’ve ever known, or been good at.”
The former pitcher will now take his turn coaching major league pitchers. He will work with them and their regular coaches in the morning. He will make small adjustments and suggest changes.
And despite his brilliant career on the mound, Koufax is modest about how he helps. He claims no special insight into the sport that pitchers or catchers couldn’t find out from other sources.
The Dodgers‘ head of marketing, Lon Rosen, and president, Stan Kasten, are responsible for Sandy Koufax’s return to baseball. He was approached by Rosen last summer, notes The New York Times. The head of marketing asked Koufax if he would return to the franchise in some capacity.
And despite being 35 pounds lighter than when he last took the field, Koufax is still in shape enough to toss a ball and shag balls after bunting practice. But when asked about the arthritis in his left elbow, which caused his retirement in 1966, the former pitcher joked, “You haven’t seen me throw anything, have you?”
While Sandy Koufax may not see it, the Dodgers have found their golden pitching resource. Not only is the former pitcher able to connect with players, he remains a beloved figure among sports fans and players alike.
Koufax spent 11 years as a Dodgers minor league instructor, but his return to the club’s spring training could spell a new era of the former pitcher helping out in the majors.