Monday, May 3, 2010

27. Sandy Koufax

I am sorry but I was instructed to take down the Sandy Koufax card because it is in violation of college licensing laws. It was a nice looking card and I thought it did credit to and brought attention to the fact that the great Sandy Koufax went to the University of Cincinnati.

When Sandy Koufax, arguably the greatest left-handed pitcher ever, enrolled at the University of Cincinnati in 1953 it was not to play college baseball for the Bearcats, but to become an architect. At a time when becoming a major league baseball player was the most glamorous thing most kids could wish to be, the career of an architect was Koufax's dream and the University of Cincinnati was the place to start. Then as now, U.C. is one of the world's finest architecture schools and just being admitted to the program is an achievement. A natural basketball player, he made the school’s varsity team as a surprise walk-on freshman. You see, Koufax was a well-known basketball player back in Brooklyn and played baseball in the summer basically to keep in-shape until basketball started up again. After a successful season on the college boards, Koufax further impressed coach Ed Junker by showing that he could pitch as well and he made the varsity Bearcat baseball squad in the spring of 1954. He had a blazing fastball but was very wild. The regular catcher refused to catch him and legend has it the coach would have Sandy warm up on the sideline and let the opposing team see his screaming 100 mile per hour fastball of which he had no control over. It was intimidating to say the least. He averaged about 1 walk per inning his first and only year in college competition. On the other hand, he had almost 2 strike-outs per inning and by the end of the college season the Brooklyn Dodgers had signed Sandy Koufax to a lucrative contract. Back when he was in high school, the Dodgers had apparently scouted him but the report was misfiled. At the time he could have been signed for a bargain price but now other teams began to take notice. He negotiated a bonus large enough to cover the rest of his architecture school tuition if baseball did not pan out. Due to the large amount of the bonus, major league baseball rules at the time dictated that he be sent directly to the majors and not farmed out to a minor league team for seasoning. To make room for the young fireballer, the Dodgers looked over their roster and sent their least effective pitcher down to the minors. That pitchers name was Tommy Lasorda.

I'd like to thank my good friend Christian Boyles, Aquisitions Librarian at Xavier University and University of Cincinnati Alumni for his tireless research to get an example of the jersey worn by the 1954 Bearcats. I try to get the uniforms worn by the players in my cards as historically accurate as possible and this was a tough one to nail down. But somehow, Boyles came through!



9 comments:

  1. Too bad the Reds didn't grab him. Then again, the Reds probably would have ruined him. (I know, Dusty wasn't managing back then...but still!)

    Great card. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. If I was in any way clever, I'd post a picture I have of a Maury's Bearcat.

    But I'm not.

    No problem, man. Glad to help.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Um, somehow it took me this long to find your site. I'm glad to have stumbled upon it this afternoon. Your cards are awesome! Totally ordering a set when funds allow.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wayne Tietz, THE WORLDS BIGGEST WHITE SOX FAN.May 9, 2010 at 5:56 AM

    I would like to see a card of former Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve Dalkowski. He supposedly threw his fastball over 100 MPH. He also could not get his ball over the plate. White
    sox TV announcer Ken Harrelson said he was scared to death when he had to bat against him because of his wildness. When Steve Dalkowski was finally able to get his ball over the plate, he hurt his arm and was never able to pitch again.


    the last I heard he became an alcoholic and was living on the street homeless.

    ReplyDelete
  5. How can they make you take down a picture of a card that you drew? Isn't your art? Either way, I missed it and now I'm sad!

    ReplyDelete
  6. i'm bummed i didn't discover this site before this card was taken down

    ReplyDelete