The bright young career of Sandy Koufax reaches the first of what would be many peaks as the left-hander fires his first no-hitter, a 5-0 gem over the New York Mets before a crowd of 32,769 at Dodger Stadium in 1962.
The no-hitter is the first by a Los Angeles Dodger pitcher and second at Dodger Stadium. Bo Belinsky of the Los Angeles Angels was the first to toss a no-hitter at Dodger Stadium, on May 5, 1962 over the Baltimore Orioles.
Koufax, who would go on to pitch four no-hitters including the only perfect game in franchise history gave an early indication of his domination against New York when he struck out the side on nine pitches in the first inning. He battled some control problems, walking five and reaching 3-and-2 counts nine times, but did not allow a runner to reach second base.
The native of Brooklyn became the first Dodger left-hander to throw a no-hitter in 54 years, following Nap Ruckers gem during the 1908 campaign.
A Hall of Famer and one of the most dominating pitchers in history, Koufax threw no-hitters in each of the next three seasons. His perfect game came on Sept. 9, 1965 in a 1-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs at Dodger Stadium.
Koufax also had two one-hitters during his Los Angeles career.
Per Dodgers Site.
The past couple days, I have been on the topic of Tommy Lasorda. As most of you know already, Tommy recently suffered a heart attack, and was released yesterday morning. I have enjoyed posting random tid bits about Tommy such as him throwing 300+ pitches in one game, striking out 25 batters, or winning his 1,500th game as a Dodgers manager in 1995. Today, we talk about something else Tommy related that happened on this day, in 1955. Let’s go back…
June 8, 1955.
After a very short major league career (8 games total) Tommy was optioned down to the minor leagues in order to make room for none other than, Sandy Koufax. It was a move that proved to be one of the biggest in Dodgers history, considering Tommy Lasorda would go on to be one of the games greatest managers, and Koufax would go on to be one of the game’s most dominant pitchers.
Lasorda jokes about his demotion by saying, “It took the greatest left-hander in the history of baseball to knock me off that Brooklyn club.” Lasorda, as we all know, has an incredible sense of humor, and is one of the most humble men in sports.
Lasorda went on to win 1,599 games in his managerial career that included two world series titles, four National League pennants, and eight division titles. He is one of the games most visible and tireless goodwill ambassadors and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1997.
Koufax, just 19 years of age at the time of his promotion, went on to record a 165-87 career record including four no hitters, and the only perfect game in Dodgers history. According to the Dodgers website, from 1962-66 alone, he went 111-34, with 1,444 strikeouts and five consecutive ERA titles. In 1972, he was the youngest player to ever be elected into the Hall of Fame, at just 36 years old.
Keeping the pitchers theme consistent, I wanted to give a quick shoutout to Don Drysdale, another historic Dodgers pitcher that pitched in the same era as Koufax (Could you imagine those guys together? For those of you that were alive, I am envious). On this day, in 1968, Don surpasses Walter Johnson’s major league record of 56 consecutive scoreless innings as he ran a streak of 58 2/3 before Philadelphia Phillies’ Howie Bedell drove in Tony Taylor in the fifth inning of that game to end it. Orel Hershiser, yet another Dodgers pitcher, would later go on to beat that record by recording 59 scoreless innings in 1988.
You can’t have a pitcher without a catcher, and in the 80’s, the Dodgers had a great one. Mike Scioscia is the current manager of the Anaheim Angels (No, thats not a typo. In my opinion, they have, are, and forever will be the Anaheim Angels. You have to play in a city for it to count). Scioscia played for the Dodgers from 1980-1992, and on this day in 1991, he became the clubs all-time leader in games caught when he knelt behind the plate for the 1,219th time.