Wulf: Sandy Koufax’s final victory might have been his best

From SABR member Steve Wulf at ESPN.com on September 30, 2016, with mention of SABR member Jane Leavy:

As thousands of cellphone cameras went off like fireflies, the crowd rose to its feet, and the cheers echoed throughout Chavez Ravine. It was Vin Scully Appreciation Night at Dodger Stadium this past Sunday, but this reception was not for him. No, this was a love letter to another Dodgers legend, another man whose humility made his gifts seem even more transcendent.

This was for Sandy Koufax. Looking as though he could throw a no-hitter tomorrow, he walked onto the stage, embraced Scully, then took the podium as Vin sat back down. A microphone picked up an enthralled Scully saying, “This is great. This is the best.”

It’s hard to believe Koufax is now 80 years old, partly because he looks so trim and athletic, but also because it seems like only yesterday that he was thrilling the grandparents of the people now sitting in the seats.

“I think as many times as I’ve been on this field, I’ve never been this nervous,” Koufax said. “My first year with the Dodgers was 1955. So if my math is correct, I’ve known Vin Scully for 60 years or more.” In a seldom-heard voice that now suddenly seemed so familiar, Koufax delivered a lovely tribute that recalled how much Scully meant to Dodger fans and to the Dodgers.

“A story about Vin,” Koufax said toward the end of his speech. “I don’t know if many people know, but before the World Series, Vin would go to church … and pray. Not for a win, but that there would only be heroes in the World Series. No goats. He didn’t want anyone’s future to be tarnished with the fact that they lost the World Series for their team. And I think that showed his compassion for the players.”

Read the full article here: http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/17671148

Originally published: September 30, 2016. Last Updated: September 30, 2016.