Los Angeles Dodgers broadcasting legend Vin Scully announced that he would return for yet another season calling Dodgers baseball games for delight of their MLB Betting fans. However, he has limited his schedule even further. Even before the change, he did not travel away from the West Coast except for postseason games, and now he will be doing even fewer games. One of Scully’s favorite games as a broadcaster happened in a September…back in 1965.
On September 9, 1965, Dodgers legend Sandy Koufax threw a perfect game against the Chicago Cubs. This was Koufax’s fourth no-hitter, a record that would stand until 1981, when Nolan Ryan broke it. It was only the sixth time a pitcher in the modern (live-ball) era had thrown a perfect game. He struck out 14 batters, the most ever in a perfect game (a tie with San Francisco’s Matt Cain).
There were a few things that were notable about the game in addition to Koufax’s outstanding performance. The opposing pitcher, Bob Hendley, also had a no-hitter going through six innings, and Hendley only gave up one hit – which did not lead to a run. The final score was 1-0, but the Dodgers scored an unearned run. This game has the record for the fewest base runners in any game with both teams, as only two Dodgers would reach base. These reasons were factors for the game’s selection in a 1995 poll of the Society for American Baseball Research as the greatest pitching performance of all time.
Things did not look promising for the Dodgers going into this game. Koufax had not picked up a win in three weeks, since San Francisco’s pitcher Juan Marichal nad hit the Dodger catcher, John Roseboro, over the head with a baseball bat. However, the Cubs were in eighth place and did not seem like much of a threat. Hendley had just come up from the minors and had a middling 2-2 record.
Obviously, Koufax was dominant throughout, but one particularly interesting fact was his ability to strike out the side in both the eighth and ninth innings. Ernie Banks, one of the greatest hitting shortstops of all time, didn’t make contact with a pitch all day. No pitcher would finish a no-hitter by striking out the side in the ninth inning again until June 9, 2015, when the San Francisco Giants’ Chris Heston did it. In the game, Koufax threw 113 pitches, 79 for strikes.
Jeff Torborg, who caught the game, would also catch Nolan Ryan’s first no-hitter in 1973. Five days later, Hendley and Koufax faced off again in Chicago, but the Cubs won this time, 2-1. The Cubs would not have another no-hitter thrown against them until July 25, 2015, when the Phillies’ Cole Hamels threw a no-hitter. They had gone 7,920 games without a no-hitter, the longest span of any MLB team.
An irony came from the fact that Koufax had a way of telegraphing his pitches. You could look at his windup and tell if you were getting a fastball or a curveball. The fact that batters knew what was coming but still could not hit it made the no-hitter even sweeter.
Editor’s Note: While I am not old enough to have seen Sandy Koufax pitch, I have read and followed his story like the avid baseball fan that I am, with that in mind and the words of my grandfather who did see him play, I can say Sandy Koufax is the best pitcher baseball has given the game.
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