On Nov. 18, 1966, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax announced his retirement from baseball despite being just 30 years old. Koufax was coming off the best season of his career, but sailed off into the sunset due to chronic arthritis.
The news came just 17 days after Koufax became the first three-time Cy Young Award winner in MLB history. He was a unanimous selection in 1966, which was the final year the Cy Young was only presented to one pitcher.
In what was the 12th and final season of his career, Koufax went 27-9 with a 1.73 ERA, 27 complete games, five shutouts and 317 strikeouts.
It was the second straight consecutive season Koufax recorded 27 complete games, and a sixth straight year he reached double digits in that benchmark.
Koufax’s ERA in 1966 was a career best, and it was the the third time he won the Triple Crown — leading the Majors in wins, ERA and strikeouts.
The famed left-hander finished a lifetime 65-87 with a 2.76 ERA. Along with the three Cy Young Awards, Koufax was a seven-time All-Star, five-time ERA leader, named the 1963 National League MVP, threw one perfect game and four no-hitters, and was part of four World-Series winning teams.
He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972. Koufax remained close to the Dodgers organization after retiring, and only this year stepped away from his role as special advisor to chairman Mark Walter.
The Dodgers nonetheless made it clear that Koufax, despite no longer holding an official role, is welcomed at any time.