Today’s guest reviewer is my brother-in-law, Henry Grossman. Henry is a retired science teacher from New York who has been a lifelong Dodger fan from the early 50s. He remembers with great fondness the great L.A. championship teams of the 60s led by the immortal #32, Sandy Koufax. He writes enthusiastically about a book introducing a new generation of ballplayers to “the man with the golden arm.”
You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax by Jonah Winter is a beautifully written and illustrated biography of a great Dodger hero of mine. Narrated in a folksy “Brooklynese” vernacular, the young reader is given a thoroughly entertaining account of how a struggling hard-throwing southpaw matured into a great superstar and role model. The book also captures the character of a man who had to make difficult choices in his life such as refusing to play in the first game of the 1965 World Series because it was the Jewish High Holy Day.
He was a Brooklyn kid, a rookie when the Brooklyn Dodgers won its only World Series in 1955. Throughout the book, there are many interesting and revealing stats that underscore how remarkable and dominant a pitcher he was with the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 60s. The exhilaration and anticipation of a new strikeout record or a no-hitter each time the great lefty took the mound was to baseball fans what Tiger Woods winning championships is to golf.
During World Series time, many games were broadcast from L.A. to New York audiences in the early afternoon on a school day. Practically everyone brought transistor radios and teachers had a TV in the faculty lounge. When Koufax pitched, we were all rivoted to the broadcast. If you were late to class, everyone understood. Yeah, Koufax was that big a deal!
The story concludes when Sandy Koufax, the youngest inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame, retires from the game when he was in his prime with records yet to break and championships to win. This book will spark interest to learn more about this legendary athlete and about Major League Baseball of that era.