Friday, November 20, 2009
Sandy Koufax, 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers
Look, I love Koufax. He was the only real Jewish icon in baseball between Hank Greenberg and Ryan Braun (don't give me that Mike Epstein stuff) and, for history-minded members of the tribe - like self - that's of no little import. Therefore, it is with some reluctance that I discuss Sandy's shortcomings. His short career length and the fact he spent all of his dominating years in an extreme pitcher's park are unfortunate realities and they give baseball people reluctance to finger Koufax as the greatest southpaw ever. Moreover, before moving to LA, Koufax had three unexceptional years in Brooklyn, in which he set, to my knowledge, just one record. In his rookie season, Sandy set a record by becoming the only player in history to strike out in every single at-bat (minimum 10 plate appearances). Yep, one of the greatest strikeout pitchers ever was, at first, a strikeout batter. For those of you keeping score at home, that's 0 for 12, all strikeouts, with a perfect -100 OPS+. Obviously, this doesn't mean too much because Koufax was a pitcher, but it's funny to think that he actually improved his hitting over time, retiring with a hearty .097 average.
10+ at bats, 100% k rate