Sanford “Sandy” Koufax, one of the greatest pitchers in baseball, was referred to as the “man with the golden arm.” He established one record after another as he went through an 11-year career as a pitcher with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Koufax’s career peaked with a run of six outstanding seasons from 1961 to 1966, before arthritis in his left elbow ended his career prematurely at age 30. He was named the National League’s Most Valuable Player in 1963. He also won the 1963, 1965, and 1966 Cy Young Awards by unanimous votes, making him the first 3-time Cy Young winner in baseball history.
Koufax finally gained control of his overpowering fastball and knee-buckling curve ball in the early 1960s, and embarked on one of the most dominant pitching runs in baseball history. From 1962 to 1966, he recorded 111 wins against only 34 losses, led the National League in ERA five times, set a single-season record with 382 strikeouts,. He dazzled in the national spotlight when he set a World Series single-game record with 15 strikeouts in 1963, and again when he threw a perfect game to wrap up a record fourth no-hitter in 1965.
Koufax is also remembered as one of the outstanding Jewish athletes in American sports. His decision not to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series because it fell on Yom Kippur garnered national attention as an example of conflict between professional pressures and personal beliefs.
This combination of exceptional athlete and moral conviction earned him the respect and admiration of the entire sport’s world and he served as a role model for hundreds of Jewish athletes.
The book Pray Ball! The Spiritual Insights of a Jewish Sports Fan is a collection of over 20 spiritual-Jewish messages each using sports events, figures and analogies as illustrations. It is divided into eight chapters pertaining to the sports-related topics. This unusual and exciting book delivers a moral, ethical, and spiritual message through the unique medium of professional sports.
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