On Dec. 14, 1954, the Brooklyn Dodgers signed left-hander Sandy Koufax for $14,000. When the Dodgers called up Koufax in June 1955, the corresponding move was sending Tommy Lasorda to Triple-A Montreal.
Lasorda regularly jokes that it took a pitcher of Koufax’s caliber to keep him out of the Dodgers rotation. The famed left-hander spent the entirety of his 12-year career with Brooklyn and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
During three seasons pitching while the organization was still in Brooklyn, Koufax went 9-10 with a 4.00 ERA in 62 games (28 starts).
The next three seasons, spent in Los Angeles, weren’t much kinder to Kofuax. But he seemingly turned a corner in 1961 and never looked back.
From 1961-66, Koufax went 129-47 with a 2.19 ERA and 1,713 strikeouts in 1,632.2 innings pitched. He earned the nickname, Left Hand of God. During that six-year span, Koufax reached double digits in complete games each season.
That included going the distance in 27 starts during the 1965 and ’66 seasons. On Sept. 9, 1965, Koufax threw a perfect game against the Chicago Cubs at Dodger Stadium. He struck out 14 batters, which is tied for most in a perfect game.
Prior to that point, Koufax had thrown three no-hitters in his career. At just 30 years old Koufax abruptly retired after the 1966 season, citing concerns over chronic arthritis in his elbow.
The 12th and final season of his career was nonetheless another dominant one. Koufax went 27-9 with a 1.73 ERA, the aforementioned 27 complete games, five shutouts and 317 strikeouts.
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. He 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 won four World Series with the Dodgers.
Koufax also became the first three-time Cy Young Award winner (1963, ’65 and ’66) in MLB history. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972. Up until this spring Koufax recently held the title of special advisor to Dodgers chairman Mark Walter.