Posnanski: The Koufax-Drysdale gambit, then and now

From SABR member Joe Posnanski at NBC Sports on December 3, 2015:

Fifty years ago, Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale tried one of the boldest maneuvers in baseball history. That year, 1965, Koufax and Drysdale carried the Los Angeles Dodgers to the World Series almost by themselves. Together, they started more than half of the Dodgers’ games and pitched 44 percent of the team’s innings.

In their starts, the Dodgers went 56-17, and Koufax/Drysdale had a combined 2.39 ERA.

In the games they did not start, the Dodgers went 41-48 and the rest of the staff had a 3.14 ERA.

In the World Series, Koufax made three starts and allowed one run, Drysdale (after getting rocked in his Yom Kippur start) pitched a complete game victory. The Dodgers beat the Minnesota Twins in seven games. It wasn’t ALL Koufax and Drysdale, but it was MOSTLY Koufax and Drysdale. The Dodgers were eighth out of 10 teams in the National League in runs scored and dead last in home runs. Jim Lefebvre and Lou Johnson led the team with 12 homers each.

The 1965 Dodgers were one of the most successful teams in baseball history up to that point.  More than 2.6 million people came to Dodger Stadium that year, far and away the highest attendance in baseball, more than double the Yankees’ crowd and more than three times what they drew at Fenway Park. The Dodgers were selling merchandise like crazy, they were hugely popular in Hollywood, their Vin Scully radio ratings were through the roof. And Koufax and Drysdale carried that team.

In other words, Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale seemed to be in positions of some power.

But, THAT was an illusion.

Read the full article here: http://sportsworld.nbcsports.com/sandy-koufax-don-drysdale-gambit/

Originally published: December 4, 2015. Last Updated: December 4, 2015.