Legendary Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax is pleased with what he sees in the team’s roster for the season in 2014.
In his capacity of special adviser to owner Mark Walter, the baseball great was visiting the Dodgers’ spring training facility in Arizona, trying hard to blend in to no avail.
Even though Sandy Koufax is now 78 years-old, whenever he makes an appearance on the field with the Dodgers there is no escaping it; those attending the event will line up and seek his autograph.
Koufax played his entire Major League Baseball (MLB) career for the former Brooklyn Dodgers — who make their home in Los Angeles now — and left an indelible mark with his easy manner and incredible talent.
Now, in his capacity as team consultant, the former left-handed pitcher brings his expertise and knowledge to serve his beloved Dodgers organization.
While at the spring training facility, Sandy Koufax was asked about outfielder Yasiel Puig, who is known for his theatrical style:
“If the showmanship doesn’t involve bad decisions, yeah, it’s fine, people love it.”
Sandy Koufax paid Yasiel Puig a big compliment when he talked about his ability and that of two former greats, Bo Jackson — who played baseball and football — and Roberto Clemente in the same sentence and, even though he wasn’t necessarily comparing Puig to Jackson and Clemente, he couldn’t help by feel excited about his future.
“It was crazy,” he said of Puig’s first few weeks in the majors. “It was just fun to watch.”
As to that other talented Dodger, pitcher Clayton Kershaw, whom Sandy Koufax presented with his second Cy Young Award, the legendary player had good things to say:
“He’s just a very special person — a special pitcher, a special person. I had the opportunity to watch him since he started and it’s something I just felt I wanted to do.”
It so happens that Kershaw has been compared to Sandy Koufax while coming up in the Dodgers farm system and the lefty says it doesn’t bother him.
Sandy Koufax was, during his time, perhaps the most dominating pitcher in the game of baseball and, once he was able to control his fastball, he was virtually unstoppable, winning 25 games three times, capturing five straight ERA titles, and setting a record 382 strikeouts in 1965.
During his career Koufax pitched no-hitters in four consecutive seasons and a perfect game in 1965. He posted a 0.95 ERA in four career World Series with the Dodgers, leading the team to three championships.
Sandy Koufax retired in the prime of his career — when arthritis in his pitching elbow made it impossible to throw the ball — and became the youngest player ever elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame at age 36. He is a three-time Cy Young award winner and his number 32 was retired by the Dodgers in 1972.
As an adviser to the team owner Sandy Koufax will guide the young Dodgers pitchers, however he doesn’t need to wear a uniform, which is fine by him, “It’s not my job,” he said.