This day in Los Angeles Dodgers history saw Sandy Koufax set a strikeout record and star in a road game at the Astrodome, plus the organization’s first no-hitter.
On June 22, 1959, Koufax took the mound at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum, throwing a complete game to earn a win as the Dodgers defeated the Philadelphia Phillies, 6-2. Koufax allowed 10 hits and two runs (one earned) while striking out 16, which set an MLB record for strikeouts in a night game.
Gil Hodges gave him an early run of support by driving in Jim Gilliam on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the first inning. L.A. then added three more runs in the fifth inning on a two-run single by Hodges and RBI single by John Roseboro, and put the game out of reach with two more runs in the seventh on a two-run single by Don Demeter.
Koufax was just 23 years of age in 1959, so he had yet to establish himself as a star in the league. In 35 games (23 starts) that season, he went 8-6 with a 4.05 ERA, 4.04 FIP and 1.49 WHIP while striking out 173 and walking 92 in 153.2 innings.
Koufax shines in record game at Astrodome
By 1966, Koufax had established himself as one of the greatest pitchers of all-time, and proved why by tossing a complete game in a win over the Houston Astros on June 22. The Astros set a home attendance mark of 50,908 that day, which went on to last 22 years.
Koufax again gave up 10 hits but limited the damage to two runs while striking out six in the 5-2 victory. The Dodgers’ offense scored three runs in the sixth on an RBI double by Jim Lefebvre and two-run single by Maury Wills, and then two more in the ninth on a bunt single by Willie Davis and run-scoring single by Lou Johnson.
The 1966 season was Koufax’s final in the big leagues before retiring at the age of 30 due to an arthritic condition. He went 27-9 with a 1.73 ERA, 2.07 FIP and 0.99 WHIP in 41 starts that year, striking out 317 and walking 77 in 323 innings. That was good enough to win his third Cy Young Award, also finishing second in the MVP voting.
Earlier in the 1966 season, the Dodgers played against the Astros in the first-ever MLB game played on an artificial surface at the Astrodome.
First Dodgers no-hitter
On June 22, 1891, Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Tom Lovett tossed the first no-hitter in franchise history against the rival New York Giants.
The Dodgers offense gave Lovett four runs of support, which was more than enough as he went the distance to complete the 13th no-hitter in National League history and first in six years.
Lovett had his fair share of success with the Dodgers, most notably winning 30 games in the 1890 season. He pitched in 44 games (43 starts) in 1891, going 23-19 with a 3.69 ERA, 3.55 FIP and 1.34 WHIP with 129 strikeouts and 129 walks in 365.2 innings. He went the distance in 39 of those starts.
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