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September 02, 1966 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1966-09-02

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`Koufaxt by Koufax -Splendid Autobiography of Great Pitcher

Sandy Koufax is more than the
ace pitcher in both leagues, as the
star of the Los Angeles Dodgers:
he is also a symbol of American
sportsmanship, the inspirer of
youth who encourages them to get
into the wholesome athletic fields.
He had gotten so much satisfac-
tion out of baseball, the game has
become such a high ideal for him,
that he is a natural as an idol for
the young.
He proves his status in an inter-
esting autobiography, "Koufax,"
written together with the well
know sports writer, Ed Linn, who
previously had written another
noteworthy sports book, "Veeck-
as in Wreck."
Published by Viking Press (625
Madison, NY 22), "Koufax" by
Sandy Koufax is such a highly de-
tailed account of the famous
pitcher's rise to stardom that base- bonus," Walter Alston, who was
ball fans of all ages will be held about to become manager of the
glued to this book's pages for ac- Brooklyn Dodgers, had watched
counts many already know. There Sandy play for the Univetsity- of
are reconstructions of all the im- Cincinnati and in another year
portant. games Sandy appeared in, Sandy was with the Dodgers._
and his personal roles in them, his
Thus, Sandy played in Brooklyn
thinking when problems arose, his before going on to Los Angeles
elation when there were triumphs, with the Dodgers. The Yankees
his sadnesses when he failed to also made a bid for him. He and
win for his team—all the human his family were offended when they
reactions of a very likeable man learned that the Yankee scout was
are in this full-length self-study.
a Jew. "It was just a little too
obvious," Sandy writes in his life's
Actually, Sandy started in bas-
story. It is clear he wanted to be
ketball. When a scout came to
accepted not to attract Jewish
see him about baseball and he
fans as a Jewish player but on the
told his mother about it, she was
surprised about the change-over merits of his ability as a pitcher.
Twice in his story he tells
from the cage to the diamond.
about not having played on Yom
Sandy played with the Jewish
Kippur, and he implies that it
Community House team of Bay
should have been obvious, when
Parkway, Brooklyn. The JCH-
he did not pitch during the 1965
or the J as he referes to it in his
World Series, that he would not
story—became his second home.
be on the diamond on the holiest
He played handball, but "the
heart of the place was the bas-
ketball court." He'd also take in
an occasional baseball game. In Goodwin Outlines Two
relating his experiences as a
Vietnam Alternatives
youth he states: "I keep empha-
Richard N. Goodwin, in his re-
sizing my rebounding ability be-
cause of all those stories that published essay, "Triumph of
were written upon my supposed Tragedy—Reflections on Vietnam,"
lack of coordination in my early published as a Vintage Book pap-
years with the Dodgers. The one erback by Random House, evalu-
ates the existing conditions
thing I did have, above every-
thoroughly and offers much food
thing else, was coordination. The
only sport I didn't participate in for thought, for continuing discus-
sions, for evaluative analyses of
was track, and that was only be-
cause neither my school nor the the issue.
Posing the question _"how can
JCH had a track team."
The Koufax story begins with the war be ended?", he declares:
"On that issue, the public record
the baseball hero's childhood, his
devotion to his stepfather whose reveals, there is a real and danger-
name he adopted when he was filled clash—unresolved, barely ar-
3 after his mother, having di- ticulated and now in process of
vorced his father, had remarried. decision. Few wish either with-
There is in evidence a devotion of drawal or what the President call-
Koufax to Koufax—the elder hav- ed "mindless escalation," involving
ing shared at all times in his an immediate devastation of North
adopted son's interests, devotions Vietnam or an attack on China.
These views have no serious pros-
and aspirations.
Koufax refers to the constant pects, at least for the moment.
reference to what was considered There are, rather, two middle
his preference—architecture. And grounds, presenting different risks,
he keeps pointing to the labor of and leading in different directions.
love, to his devotion to baseball. On one side are those who believe
That was his thirst. He points out: we should fight a carefully limited
his uncle was an architect and was, restricted to combat in South
thence stemmed the talk about Vietnam and pacification of the
architecture. He explains: "I en- coutnryside; that we should re-
rolled at the University of Cincin- fuse to expand, and perhaps even
nati, which I was attending on a reduce or halt, the bombing of
basketball scholarship, as a lib- the North; and that we should ag-
eral arts major rather than an gressively seek a compromise po-
architecture major—although I did litical settlement, with the in-
intend to move over to the archi- evitably uncertain risk that the
tectural school before I was Communists might ultimately win
through. And I did study architec- control of the country. On the
ture at Columbia University for other side are those who wish to
one semester at the end of my use all the military power needed,
in the North as well as in the
first year with the Dodgers."
The story how the Dodgers got South, to bring the Vietcong to
him, how he was kept on the their knees and break the will of
bench for several years, how he Hanoi to continue the war—who
waited for the chance to pitch, wish to compel the Communists
the initial failures and successes into an unfavorable political set-
until he reached the height of his tlement or no settlement at all ...
career—these are part of a suc- Our policy today rests precariously
cess story that is told in consid- on the first alternative—carefully
erable detail.
limited conflict, leading to a fair,
Koufax writes: "I always had a if risky, compromise. However,
strong arm." He associates that the pressure's of circumstances and
strength "with distance, never events are urging us imperceptive-
with speed." He states he could ly toward the second course, ex-
throw farther than any kid on the posing us to the steadily enlarging
block rather than faster. He be- danger of a course that has no
came a pitcher at 17 and he didn't logical and certain end except in
think about becoming a pitcher measureless rivers of blood."
professionally "until a big league
scout tdld me, somewhat to my
By night an atheist half believes
amazement, .that, I could _get. a in, God.-:--yonng.

Jewish day of the year and that
the Dodgers management and
his fellow players were fully
aware of his sentiments.
Many of the details told in the
Koufax story are part of baseball
history. For instance, he tells, de-
scribing the close of the chapter
about the Brooklyn Dodgers, be-
fore commencement of the history
of the Los Angeles Dodgers:
"History can record that the last
pitcher to throw a baseball for the
Brooklyn Dodgers, formerly the
Superbas (1890-1957), was S. Kou-
fax, a local boy about whom it
could be said that he had once
shown some promise. In my three
years with the Brooklyn Dodgers,
I had won nine games and lost
eight. In 28 starts I had gone the
distance only four times. The best
game I had ever pitched had been
my first at Ebbets Field."
But there were better games,
there was a rich career ahead—in
Los Angeles—and the record, sta-
tistics of which were compiled for
this volume by Allan Roth, the
former Dodger statistician, tells a
glorious story about a glorious ca-
reer in baseball.
The beck of the jacket of the
book, too, carries the record of
Sandy Koufax, now only 30, who
already has won 21 games this
year and who, with good results
- the rest of the season by his fel-

10 Friday, September 2, 1966

low team-mates, may lead the
Dodgers to another world cham-
Koufax's autobiography tells also
abotu his ailments, the difficulties
his arm has given him, his arth-
ritis, the treatments he received.
Just as he fought to overcome ob-
stacles when he pitched wild, so
he fights the ailment, retaining
faith in his love for the game and
in being able to overcome obsta-
Koufax explains his difficulties
with management, and the reasons
for holding out for the pay he felt
he should get, but in the long run
he emerges as the player who
loves the game.
For baseball fans, the Koufax
story is the saga of a great pitcher.
For younger readers his autobi-
raphy is not only an exciting tale
o fa hero but will emerge equally
as valuable as a guide to -players,
as a textbook for pitchers. "Kou-
fax" by Koufax (with Ed Linn),
and with the impressive statistics
by Allan Roth, is one of the best
sports books of the year.


Incident Probed in Italy

(Direct JTA Teletype Wire
to the Jewish News)

ROME—Police began investigat-
ing Tuesday an incident in Parma
in northern Italy where chalked
swastikas and slogans praising
Hitler and fascism were found
scribbled on the walls of public
parks. Police erased the mark-
ings shortly after they were dis-









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