At 30, Sandy Koufax lives alone in a modest two-bedroom bungalow in Studio City, just over the hill from Hollywood and Beverly Hills. As much as possible, he tries to keep it private. The house is a hillside percher, and no car without a good, firm low gear is going to make it up his driveway. There are a tiny backyard and a swimming pool which may be the world's smallest, and a two-car garage stuffed with an Oldsmobile 98 and a Corvette. The house is tastefully furnished, but when Sandy shows it off he does so with a deprecatory air. He is the precise opposite of the person who accumulates possessions for the sake of displaying them. He has a few oil paintings, none of them very special, and his bookshelves hold no great surprises: Funeral in Berlin, Herzog, Ship of Fools, The Bull from the Sea, a complete Sholom Aleichem, etc. He has several TV sets, including a 24-inch color set in his living room. He has an excellent hi-fi stereo rig, and he likes to do the wiring and the paneling himself. He has built a stereo control room (about 5 by 5 feet) off his den, and in it he keeps his records (mostly musical-comedy albums), turntable, tape recorder and amplifiers. He has several speaker systems dotted around the house.
Whenever visitors tend to get gushy about the place, Sandy tries to bring them down. One of his main obsessions is with normality—the everyday nature of his tastes and his life. When he is on a date he avoids the publicized places; he is a guy with a girl, not a celebrity looking for a mention in a column. He does not even seem to want the public to be aware that he has a superb view across the whole San Fernando Valley, as though this would stamp him as being too much out of the ordinary. "Sandy, how far can you see on a clear day?" I asked him.
"On a clear day..." he sang.
"No, no kidding. How far can you see across the valley?"
"Depends on what time I got home the night before. It's the valley, that's all."
"What're those mountains way over there?"
"How would I know? They're 'The Mountains,' that's all. The Catskills? I don't know."
Sandy has a lively sense of humor, and he can handle himself when he is being ragged. "Sandy," I said, "I've heard it said that you're just another pitcher, that you put your pants on one leg at a time like everybody else. Now, tell me the truth, Sandy, do you put your pants on one leg at a time?"
"No," he said. "I have a special rack in my bedroom. I'll show it to you. I balance on the bed and then...jump! It plays hell on the cuffs."
"You shouldn't have cuffs," I said. "They're out of style."