On this date in 1935, one of the most famous Dodger players was born in Brooklyn, New York. Sanford “Sandy” Koufax grew up in Brooklyn and then attended the University of Cincinnati, where he made the varsity baseball team.
After a year with the university, he tried out for the New York Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates and Dodgers. The Dodgers signed him in 1954 and he made his major league debut the next season. Koufax was slightly used the next three seasons and became a full-time started in 1958, going 11-11 with a 4.48 ERA. He was an average starting pitcher the next couple seasons until he made a drastic improvement in 1961. Koufax finished the year 18-13 with a 3.52 ERA and led the league with 269 strikeouts. The next year he led the league in ERA at 2.54 and finished 14-7.
Beginning in 1963, Koufax went on one of the greatest four-year runs for a pitcher in major league history. That year, he went 25-5 with a 1.88 ERA and 306 strikeouts. The left-hander led the league in wins, ERA, strikeouts, WHIP and shutouts. Koufax started 40 games for the Dodgers and was named the National League Cy Young and MVP, as well as being named an All-Star. He helped lead the Dodgers to a World Series victory, making it the third championship he won with the team.
Over the next three seasons, Koufax went 72-22 with a 1.85 ERA and 922 strikeouts in 113 games. He led the league ERA each year and led in strikeouts in 1965 and 1966. Koufax won consecutive NL Cy Young awards in 1965 and 1966. He won one more World Series in 1965 and was named the World Series MVP that year.
In his career, Koufax was a seven-time All-Star, four-time World Series champion, three-time Cy Young winner, three-time pitching Triple Crown winner, two-time World Series MVP and threw four no-hitters in his career. He also added a perfect game to his achievements. The Dodgers retired his No. 32 uniform and he joined the team last season in a special advisor role.