Sandy Koufax

Sandy Koufax - Jacob Abramowitz 939838247 Jba5010@psu.edu...

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Jacob Abramowitz 939838247 Jba5010@psu.edu HIST 115 Final Paper Sandy Koufax The life of Sandy Koufax, arguably one of the greatest starting pitchers in Major League Baseball history, is defined not by his accomplishments on the field, but rather by his decision not to play one of the most important games of his life. He has had a great impact on modern American life because of everything he did during his career. He was a motivational and uplifting teammate. He is very humble with his words. He did not enjoy the spotlight like so many other professional athletes do. All he cared about was doing the right thing and being a good teammate and pitcher. During his playing days, Koufax was faced with many hardships, including struggles at the beginning of his career, dealing with the media, and anti-Semitism in America. He fought through all of this to become a dominant pitcher and influential figurehead for Jews and non-Jews alike. He showed by his actions that all of the greatness gained he from being a skilled
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baseball player means nothing compared to his heritage and values as a Jew and what it means to him. Born Sanford Braun in Brooklyn in 1935, Sandy grew up during a time of great turmoil in the United States. His parents divorced when he was three years old, and he took the surname of his step-father, Irving Koufax, when his mother remarried six years later. Soon after his mother’s marriage, his family moved to Long Island where Sandy was raised until ninth grade, when the family moved back to Brooklyn. Koufax attended Lafayette High School, and was better know for his ability on the basketball court than on the baseball diamond. High school sports were unavailable in New York due to teachers’ refusal to supervise extracurricular activities without being paid, so Koufax began to play basketball for the local Jewish Community Center team. After labor negotiations were settled between the teachers and the school board, Sandy began playing basketball for his high school team. His senior year of high school he was team captain and was second in the division in scoring. During his high school days, he also played baseball in a youth league known as the “Ice Cream League.” He started out as a catcher, and then
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moved to first base. Along with the recreational league, Sandy also played first base for his high school team. He was spotted by his teammate’s father, the coach of the Coney Island Sports League’s Parkviews, who saw that Koufax might have the ability to pitch, and recruited him to play for the Parkviews. Following his graduation from high school, Sandy attended the University of Cincinnati on a basketball scholarship. In 1954, he made the varsity baseball team at the university. His first season on the team, he had a 3-1 record with 51 strikeouts in 31 innings of play. After the season, Sandy tried out for the New York Giants and Pittsburgh Pirates. During his workout with the Pirates, his pitches broke the thumb of his catcher. The
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Sandy Koufax - Jacob Abramowitz 939838247 Jba5010@psu.edu...

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