On May 11, 1963, Los Angeles Dodgers legendary pitcher Sandy Koufax tossed his second of four career no-hitters. His performance helped lead the Dodgers to an 8-0 win over the division-rival San Francisco Giants.
Koufax struck out four and walked two in the historic game, getting seven groundball outs and the other 15 coming through the air. Koufax’s four strikeouts were the lowest total in any of his four career no-hitters.
He had a perfect game until walking Ed Bailey with one out in the eighth inning. Although L.A. went on for a comfortable victory, they held just a 1-0 lead until the bottom of the eighth.
Three runs provided Koufax with some breathing room, and four more in the eighth blew the game open.
The 1963 season was a special one for the left-hander and perhaps the best in his 12-year career with the Dodgers. He went 25-5 with a 1.88 ERA, 1.85 FIP and 0.88 WHIP in 40 starts. Koufax struck out 306 batters compared to 58 walks in 311 innings while throwing 20 complete games, 11 of them being shutouts.
Koufax won his first of three National League Cy Young Awards, while also taking home National League MVP. The Dodgers went on to win the 1963 World Series, the second of four in Koufax’s career, by sweeping the New York Yankees in four games.
In addition to his three Cy Youngs and MVP, Koufax was named an All-Star seven times while with the Dodgers and became the youngest player inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972.
Koufax is responsible for four of the Dodgers’ 23 no-hitters in franchise history, which is the most for any team in all of baseball. He is also the holder for the only perfect game thrown by a Dodgers pitcher.
Kershaw impressed by Koufax’s curveball
Throughout much of his career, Clayton Kershaw has drawn endless comparisons to Koufax. The two left-handers have become close over the years and share a similarity in being regarded as the best pitchers of their generation.
During a recent appearance on former teammate Ross Stripling’s podcast, “GOATS: On the Bump,” Kershaw discussed Koufax’s dominant curveball, marveling at how he was able to throw different versions of it.
In addition to curveball grips, Kershaw also highlighted Koufax’s career dominance, if he would succeed in the current era and more.
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