On Sept. 9, 1965, Sandy Koufax threw a perfect game against the Chicago Cubs at Dodger Stadium. The Los Angeles Dodgers needed every bit of Koufax’s brilliance as Bob Hendley also turned in a gem that evening.
Los Angeles broke through in the fifth inning of the pitcher’s duel, sparked by Lou Johnson drawing a leadoff walk. After he was sacrificed into scoring position, Johnson attempted to steal third base.
The throw sailed into left field, and Johnson scored the Dodgers’ lone run. Hendley allowed just one hit in a performance that understandably is overshadowed.
Koufax struck out 14, including the final six batters he faced, en route to completing the Dodgers’ only perfect game in franchise history. It was the first perfect game of Koufax’s career, although he had thrown three no-hitters under his belt to that point.
— Vin Scully (@TheVinScully) September 9, 2020
The left-hander’s 14 strikeouts are tied for the most in Major League Baseball history in a perfect game. Koufax’s 1965 season overall was pure dominance as he finished 26-8 with a 2.04 ERA and 382 strikeouts.
After the perfect game, the southpaw posted a 0.92 ERA to close out the season, leading the Dodgers to a World Series, which was the fourth of Koufax’s career.
Along with four World Series titles, Koufax won Cy Young Awards in 1963, 1965 and 1966. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972.
The perfect game was called by Dodgers legendary broadcaster Vin Scully, who later shared a story of the historic performance on Twitter. Audio of Scully calling the ninth inning of Koufax’s perfect game can be listed to here.
Sandy Koufax statue at Dodger Stadium
In June of 2022, the Dodgers unveiled a Sandy Koufax statue at Dodger Stadium, placing it next to where Jackie Robinson is immortalized in the center field plaza.
“Sixty-seven years ago, Jackie Robinson became my teammate, my friend,” Koufax said during the ceremony. “At that time, sharing this space with him was absolutely unimaginable. And today, it still is. It’s one of the greatest honors of my life.”
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