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November 18, 1966: Sandy Koufax Announces His Retirement

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    November 18, 1966: Sandy Koufax Announces His Retirement


    1966 "I don't regret for one minute the twelve years I've spent in baseball, but I could regret one season too many. I've got a lot of years to live after baseball and I would like to live them with the complete use of my body." - SANDY KOUFAX, explaining his decision to retire early from baseball."

    "After finishing the Cy Young season with a 27-9 record and a league-leading 1.73 ERA, 30-year-old Sandy Koufax shocks the baseball world by announcing his retirement. The southpaw, who has thrown four no-hitters and set the single-season strikeout record last year with 382, cites his arthritic arm and the fear of permanent damage as the reason for placing himself on the voluntarily retired list."

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    L.A. Dodgers’ ace pitcher Sandy Koufax retires
    Excerpts from the article:

    "On November 18, 1966, Sandy Koufax, the ace pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers, retires from baseball. He was just 30 years old, and he was retiring after a great season–he’d led the Dodgers to a National League pennant and won his third Cy Young award. But he had chronic arthritis in his pitching arm, and he was afraid that if he kept playing baseball, eventually he wouldn’t be able to use his left hand at all. “In those days there was no surgery,” he said much later. “The wisdom was if you went in there, it would only make things worse and your career would be over, anyway. Now you go in, fix it, and you’re OK for next spring.”

    "In 1961, Koufax really hit his stride: He went 18-13 and led the majors in strikeouts, something he would do four times between 1961 and 1966. Meanwhile, during those six seasons he led the league three times in wins and shutouts, and twice he threw more complete games than any other pitcher. He set a new major-league season strikeout record–382–in 1965. (Only Nolan Ryan has since struck out more batters in a single season.) Koufax threw one no-hitter every year from 1962 to 1965, and in 1965 he threw a perfect game. His pitches were notoriously difficult to hit; getting the bat on a Koufax fastball, Pittsburgh’s Willie Stargell once said, was like “trying to drink coffee with a fork.”

    Koufax Calls It Quits
    Excerpts from the article:

    "When Sandy Koufax retired on Nov. 18, 1966, he ended a six-year run that scouts only dream about."

    "It was a six-year run that took him straight to Cooperstown."

    "Koufax, who grew up in Brooklyn playing in the city’s “Ice Cream League” before heading to the University of Cincinnati to play basketball, debuted with his hometown Dodgers in 1955 after signing as a “bonus baby” in 1954."

    "Under MLB rules, the size of his bonus prevented the Dodgers from sending him to the minor leagues, so he pitched in the big leagues at the age of 19 in 1955 – earning two wins with a 3.02 ERA in his rookie year."

    “I can see how he won 25 games,” said Hall of Famer Yogi Berra, whose Yankees faced Koufax in the 1963 World Series. “What I don’t understand is how he lost five.”

    "In 1963, Koufax also became just the second pitcher to ever take home an MVP and a Cy Young in the same season – after Don Newcombe did it with Brooklyn in the first year of the Cy Young Award of 1956."

    "Koufax became the first pitcher to reach four career no-hitters on Sept. 9, 1965, surpassing Larry Corcoran, Cy Young and Bob Feller."

    "Koufax was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1972, becoming just the 10th player to be inducted in his first year of eligibility and the youngest player (at age 36) to be elected."

    Sandy Koufax Stats
    Excerpt from the article:

    "The (golf) pro kept telling me since I hit right-handed I had to keep my left arm straight. I told him, 'If I could do that, I'd still be pitching.'" - Sandy Koufax (1970) [Sandy Koufax Quotes]"

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    "The Yankee is one who, if he once gets his teeth set on a thing, all creation can't make him let go." Ralph Waldo Emerson