On January 16, 2012, exactly one year and six days ago, there was a post and a series of replies over on the ThinkBlueLA.com forum in which several of our loyal members commented on the fact that Dodger legend and Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax should have been brought back into the Dodgers family, just as many other former Dodgers had been. Say what you will about exiled former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, that was one thing he absolutely got right.
Speculation had been that Koufax had cut all ties with the Dodgers when the franchise was sold to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp empire (which includes Fox Entertainment Group) and that someone at the New York Post (a News Corp publication) wrote a story that insinuated that Koufax was gay. Incensed by this completely baseless and unfounded propaganda, Koufax made it well known that he would never again have anything to do with the Dodgers so long as they had any ties whatsoever with News Corp – including Fox.
It appears that as of early Tuesday morning, those ties have been cut.
Welcome home Sandy Koufax!
Make absolutely no mistake about it, the fact that the Dodgers made this announcement within an hour of reports that Time Warner Cable had won the Dodgers television rights over Fox is not a coincidence. My guess is that Stan Kasten and the rest of the Guggenheim Baseball Management Group (who tend to make exactly the right decisions at exactly the right time) have been pacing the floor and chomping at the bit just waiting to make the Koufax announcement, but had to wait until the television rights deal had been settled and that Fox would no longer be associated with the Dodgers after the 2013 season.
One can only hope that the now lame duck Fox Entertainment Group does not sabotage any of their Dodgers broadcasts during the 2013 season. Granted, this would be well beyond unprofessional, but we are talking about Rupert Murdoch here – the guy who let Mike Piazza get away.
For additional information on this breaking story, check out Ken Gurnick’s article at Dodgers.com.
Here is the official press release from the Dodgers:
LOS ANGELES – Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax will return to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2013, it was announced.
Koufax will serve as Special Advisor to Dodgers’ Chairman Mark Walter. Koufax will attend a portion of Spring Training to work with Dodgers’ pitchers and consult with the team throughout the year.
“The Dodgers are thrilled to have Sandy back with the organization,” Dodgers’ President and CEO Stan Kasten said. “Sandy’s experience and perspective will be invaluable as we endeavor to do everything in our power to bring the city of Los Angeles a World Series champion.”
“For our young players and our veterans to be able to tap Sandy’s expertise and counsel during Spring Training and throughout the season will provide yet another tremendous resource in our efforts to strengthen our club,” said General Manager Ned Colletti.
“I’m delighted to be back with the Dodgers,” Koufax said. “I’m looking forward to spending time with the team during Spring Training and to contributing in any way I can to help make the team a success for the fans of Los Angeles. Some of my most cherished memories came at Dodger Stadium.”
Koufax, the first major leaguer to pitch four no-hitters, including a perfect game, was the youngest player (age 36) and the first pitcher inducted into the Hall of Fame (1972) who had more strikeouts than innings pitched. In 12 major league seasons, he had a career record of 165-87, a 2.76 ERA, 2,396 strikeouts, 137 complete games and 40 shutouts.
From 1962-66, Koufax led the National League in earned run average and shutouts. He was the first pitcher to average fewer than seven hits allowed per nine innings pitched in his career (6.79) and to strike out more than nine batters (9.28) per nine innings. In his last 10 seasons, batters hit .203 against him with a .271 on-base percentage and a .315 slugging average.
Koufax was the MVP and Cy Young Award winner in 1963 and also won Cy Young awards in 1965 and ’66. He was a member of Dodgers’ world championship teams in 1955, ’59, ’63 and ’65, earning MVP honors in 1963 and ‘65. His postseason record was 4-3 with a 0.95 ERA. He was selected to seven consecutive All-Star games from 1961-66.