November 4, 2010

ENTER SANDMAN:

Reluctantly, Koufax Steps Back Into the Light for a Film About Jewish Ballplayers (RICHARD SANDOMIR, 10/30/10, NY Times)

Koufax consented to participate after receiving a letter from Ira Berkow, a former New York Times sports columnist, who wrote the script for the film. “I wanted to emphasize to him that it would be an important documentary,” said Berkow, who had interviewed Koufax in the past. A couple of weeks later, Berkow said: “I got a call. He said, ‘Hi, it’s Sandy.’ ”

According to Berkow, their conversation concluded when Koufax said, “It doesn’t make sense if it’s ‘Jews and Baseball,’ and I’m not in it.” Berkow added, “I said, ‘I can’t disagree with you.’ ”

Koufax gave two interviews to Miller, each at the director’s apartment in Manhattan.

“He didn’t speak for long in the first one and was pretty reserved,” Miller said. “We rode down in the elevator, we chatted about a number of things, and he said: ‘I don’t think that went so well. I’ll give you a call,’ and a few days later, he phoned back. He said, ‘Hi, it’s Sandy, we should do it again.’ ”

In a dark jacket, shirt and tie, the silver-haired Koufax spoke with charm, wit and a bit of candor about his career and his decision never to pitch on Yom Kippur, most notably in Game 1 of the 1965 World Series. Not playing on Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashana was “just something I’d always done out of respect,” Koufax told Miller, “but I could always do something about it; there was always a game the day before, so I’d move up and pitch on two days’ rest so I wouldn’t miss a start at the end of the season.”

But, Koufax continued, “there was no game the day before” Game 1, which the Dodgers lost, 8-2.


Posted by Orrin Judd at November 4, 2010 3:42 PM
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