On Jan. 19, 1972, former Los Angeles Dodgers left-handed pitcher Sandy Koufax was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. At 36 years and 20 days old, Koufax became the youngest player to ever be inducted.
The famed southpaw finished a lifetime 165-87 with a 2.76 ERA in 12 seasons with the Dodgers, beginning his career in Brooklyn. Along with the three Cy Young Awards, Koufax was a seven-time All-Star, five-time ERA leader, the 1963 National League MVP, threw one perfect game and four no-hitters, and won four World Series.
For as much as Koufax accomplished throughout his career, three seasons spent in Brooklyn were hardly noteworthy. He went 9-10 with a 4.00 ERA in 62 games (28 starts) during that span.
The next three seasons in Los Angeles weren’t much kinder, but he turned a corner in 1961. From 1961-66, Koufax went 129-47 with a 2.19 ERA and 1,713 strikeouts in 1,632.2 innings pitched.
During that six-year stretch, Koufax reached double digits in complete games each season. That included going the distance in 27 starts during the 1965 and ’66 seasons. Koufax deservedly earned the nickname, “Left Hand of God.”
Koufax retired after the 1966 season at just 30 years old, citing concerns over chronic arthritis in his elbow.
Elbow trouble hardly affected Koufax during the final season of his career, as he went 27-9 with a 1.73 ERA, 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.
Koufax made MLB history
Also in 1966, Koufax became the first three-time Cy Young Award winner (1963, ’65 and ’66) in MLB history.
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