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In an era when too many heroes have been toppled from too many pedestals, Sandy Koufax stands apart and alone, a legend who declined his own celebrity. As a pitcher, he was sublime, the ace of baseball lore. As a human being, he aspired to be the one thing his talent and his fame wouldn't allow: a regular guy. A Brooklyn kid, he was the product of the sedate and modest fifties who came to define and dominate baseball in the sixties. In Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy, former award-winning Washington Post sportswriter Jane Leavy delivers an uncommon baseball book, vividly re-creating the Koufax era, when presidents were believed and pitchers aspired to go the distance.

He was only a teenager when Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley proclaimed him "the Great Jewish Hope" of the franchise. But it wasn't until long after the team had abandoned Brooklyn that the man became the myth. Old-fashioned in his willingness to play when he was injured and in his acute sense of responsibility to his team, Koutax answered to an authority higher than manager Walter Alston. When he refused to pitch the opening game of the 1965 World Series because it fell on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, he inadvertently made himself a religious icon and an irrevocably public figure. A year later, he was gone -- done with baseball at age thirty. No other sports hero had retired so young, so well, or so completely.

Despite Sandy Koufax's best efforts to protect his privacy, his legend has grown larger ever since. Part biography, part cultural history, Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy gets as close to that legend as he will allow. Through meticulous reporting and interviews with five hundred of his friends, teammates, and opponents, Leavy penetrates the mythology to discover a man more than worthy of myth.

Topics: Sports

Published: HarperCollins on Oct 13, 2009
ISBN: 9780061753503
List price: $7.99
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In the years of Koufax's ascendancy, my family was still reeling from the Dodgers' desertion. So we ignored them as much as we could, which meant that apart from a vague impression of a super pitcher, I did not know much about Koufax until reading this book. An excellent account of his career and a valiant attempt to capture the essence of a complex man who tends still to be put into convenient boxes.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Sandy Koufax was always a class act, and Jane Leavy explores why in her excellent book about the dominating lefty. He loved to pitch and get out hitters, but all the hoopla and fan craziness was not for him. It embarrassed him. Leavy structured the book around Koufax's perfect game against the Cubs, and it works pretty well. I didn't know that he and Don Drysdale were the first baseball players to hold out for a better contract. Though not 100 percent successful, they opened the door for others to follow. An engrossing read.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The book was alternating chapters, with one chapter being about his life story, and the next chapter being about his perfect game against the Cubs. Each chapter about the perfect game was one inning per chapter. By the time I was reaching the climax of the perfect game I was becoming more and more knowledgeable about Koufax, and found myself emotionally touched by the baseball game as I came to know more about Sandy Koufax the man. It was a good book, for sure. Leavy did a pretty good job with it, although sometimes her writing seemed kind of... awkward? It just seemed at times she would say things that had nothing to do with the subject at hand. It wasn't enough to ruin the book though, as I still enjoyed it.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Almost as fine a biography as watching fine pitching.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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Reviews

In the years of Koufax's ascendancy, my family was still reeling from the Dodgers' desertion. So we ignored them as much as we could, which meant that apart from a vague impression of a super pitcher, I did not know much about Koufax until reading this book. An excellent account of his career and a valiant attempt to capture the essence of a complex man who tends still to be put into convenient boxes.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Sandy Koufax was always a class act, and Jane Leavy explores why in her excellent book about the dominating lefty. He loved to pitch and get out hitters, but all the hoopla and fan craziness was not for him. It embarrassed him. Leavy structured the book around Koufax's perfect game against the Cubs, and it works pretty well. I didn't know that he and Don Drysdale were the first baseball players to hold out for a better contract. Though not 100 percent successful, they opened the door for others to follow. An engrossing read.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The book was alternating chapters, with one chapter being about his life story, and the next chapter being about his perfect game against the Cubs. Each chapter about the perfect game was one inning per chapter. By the time I was reaching the climax of the perfect game I was becoming more and more knowledgeable about Koufax, and found myself emotionally touched by the baseball game as I came to know more about Sandy Koufax the man. It was a good book, for sure. Leavy did a pretty good job with it, although sometimes her writing seemed kind of... awkward? It just seemed at times she would say things that had nothing to do with the subject at hand. It wasn't enough to ruin the book though, as I still enjoyed it.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Almost as fine a biography as watching fine pitching.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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