SI Vault
December 20, 1965
The year was rich in excellence. Princeton's Bill Bradley astonished the nation by leading his Ivy League team to the semifinals of the NCAA basketball tournament. Gary Player won the U.S. Open to complete his career sweep of all the major golf titles. Jimmy Clark showed his total command of the racing car. Distance Runners Michel Jazy and Ron Clarke broke one world record after another. Willie Mays hit home runs, stopped fights and just missed winning the pennant for San Francisco. But beyond everyone stood Sandy Koufax, Sportsman of the Year (see cover). He overcame a depressing physical disability that manifested itself in spring training (he had to pack his elbow in ice after each game during the season) and spread-eagled baseball as he pitched the Dodgers to the world championship. Of him, baseball's Paul Richards said, 'This man has a sense of responsibility beyond gain and glory.' Jack Olsen asked the normally reticent Koufax about that sense of responsibility—the management of excellence—and got this unique interview KOUFAX ON KOUFAX
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December 20, 1965

Koufax On Koufax

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Oh, definitely. Those line shots right at the infielder and you've got a double play. And if it's two feet to either side you lose the ball game. Luck plays a big part in baseball. Good luck is a hell of a lot better than bad luck.

Given the choice...?

I'll take good luck.

Do you still have that tendency to stand on the mound till you get the sign you want, without shaking off pitches?

No, I shake. I do both. There are times when I don't want to shake.


Shaking might indicate something to the hitter.

Well, the odds are that the catcher is calling for a fast ball, right?

About 60% of the time, yes.

So if the batter sees you shake there's a slight presupposition on his part that it's a fast ball you're shaking off?

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