March 29, 2008

IT'S A NICE DILEMMA TO HAVE ON YOUR HANDS, HUH?

Left-right combination: Sandy Koufax- Don Drysdale tandem gave the Dodgers of the 1960s a rarity: two future Hall of Fame members in the same rotation (Steve Springer, 3/29/08, Los Angeles Times)

If ever there was a no-brainer for a manager, this appeared to be it.

Faced with a deciding seventh game of the World Series, he had his 23-game winner, a former Cy Young Award recipient, primed and ready with three days' rest.

But the manager, Walter Alston, figured he had a better option. And so too did the 23-game winner himself, Don Drysdale

On the eve of the last game of the 1965 World Series, Drysdale and catcher John Roseboro pulled Alston aside to tell him, "You've got to pitch the left-hander."

That would be Sandy Koufax.

"Drysdale was willing to give up Game 7 for the benefit of the team," recalled Jeff Torborg, the team's backup catcher at the time, from his Florida home. "Don said he would go to the bullpen and be available. That showed me what a team leader he was. These guys normally never asked out of the rotation. You couldn't peel them off the mound."

Drysdale wasn't needed that day. Koufax, on two days' rest with an aching left elbow that ultimately would end his career a year hence at age 30, would pitch a three-hit shutout in a 2-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins, striking out 10.

Koufax and Drysdale, two future Hall of Fame members, were a pair of aces who gave Alston a lot of winning hands.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 29, 2008 5:54 PM
Comments for this post are closed.