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Dodgers: Sandy Koufax Called LA’s Greatest Player in Franchise History

The Dodgers have a deep history in baseball that runs from Los Angeles to Brooklyn. The storied franchise is loaded with icons and legends that have changed the game in some shape or form. Taking a look in would yield no shortage of Hall of Famers from present-day to its creation. Yet, labeling who is the best of them all would be a pretty tall task. 

There’s the one and only Jackie Robinson who not only became a Dodger icon but an icon for the whole sport of baseball. Most would see that as a clear choice to take home the mantle as the greatest player to suit up for the Dodgers.

However, MLB writers chose southpaw legend, Sandy Koufax, to carry that title instead. Here’s how they came to that conclusion:

Can you decide between Jackie Robinson and Sandy Koufax? The greatest of the greats extend their on-field dominance and define the legacy of their franchise. Both Robinson and Koufax did for the Dodgers. Both are revered for their impact on the sport, but Jackie was a social icon and Sandy was a model for his franchise’s pitching heritage. Robinson excelled despite the incomprehensible burden of breaking down racial barriers. Koufax compiled unapproachable statistics that obscured the toughness and unselfishness necessary to pitch in constant pain. In a photo finish, it’s Koufax.

Even with MLB’s explanation of why they went with Koufax, it’s still a tough call to make. If it weren’t for a career-ending injury that cut Koufax short, there’s so much more he could’ve accomplished on top of what he did during his 12 seasons in the league. Even just taking a look into what each accomplished, and Sandy definitely meant a lot to the organization when he was on the field.

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    1. I have known Sandy for many years and even he will tell you that his teammate,Jackie Robinson, is on the list. I idolize Sandy. As a Jewish kid growing up in California he was a god. In the 23 years I worked for the Dodgers and MLB was being Vin Scully’s guest in 1999 when he introduced the All Century Team before game 3 of the 1999 World Series in Atlanta. I was with Vin, Sandy Willie Mays, Yogi Berra and Hank Aaron in the holding room. The group was talking about all the members who were deceased and everyone agreed that Jackie Robinson was the most important player on and off the field for integrating the game. Babe Ruth got their nod as the most important player overall.

  1. ” MLB writers chose southpaw legend, Sandy Koufax, to carry that title instead.

    Here’s how they came to that conclusion…

    They said, “Duh. Koufax”.

  2. Agreed. The only other name that came to mind when I saw the headline,

    “LA’s Greatest Player in Franchise History”, was… ‘Duke’.

  3. Agreed. The only other name that came to mind when I saw the headline,

    “LA’s Greatest Player in Franchise History”,

    was… ‘Duke’.

  4. Koufax (and Drysdale) was why I became a Dodger fan at 6 years old. Everyone was still talking about him 2 years after he retired.

    So happy the Guggenheim Group got him involved again. Koufax was lost in the dessert until then. Now just need to get Scioscia back in the house…

    1. Great comment here, thank you. I was also a youngster who looked up to all those Dodger greats back then!

    2. The “house” as in wasted in the stands, on tv, events, or to throw out a first pitch. Where our legends should be is in the dugout and maybe this team will learn how to play the game

  5. Have to go with Sandy. Duke and Jackie are close. But so is Clayton Kershaw. Over that stretch of 6 years, Sandy accumulated FIFTY league leading stats. Clayton has 37 over a larger swath (7 years). Jackie was a great player. But Sandy was the best pitcher in baseball. And probably the best pitcher from 1950 through the mid 80’s Then Big Unit, The Rocket, Pedro, and Maddux came on the scene. Then Kershaw and Scherzer And Feller in the 40’s. But that one swath belonged to Sandy. So got to go with him also.

  6. THREE Cy Young awards in each of the THREE years he pitched over a staggering 300 innings with a 2 or LOWER era. Sure the era is different, but still.
    Nowadays, it’s a “quality start” if it’s only 5 good innings. Almost all of the starts Koufax had were complete games in his CY years. He had more complete games than pitchers now can scrape up wins. He is a true LEGEND with a capital LEGEND.
    Nobody can do what he did now – yet they still get paid hundreds of millions of dollars. Max by comparison has only hit 20 wins in his career twice.

  7. Sadly I missed watching Mr. Koufax’s career by two years. He was retired before I was introduced to baseball but his exploits lived on and I became a super fan as an LA resident. I met him in of all places the Disneyland Hotel elevator, shook his hand and let him know how much I admired his accomplishments. He was very humble.

  8. Koufax was the best Dodger pitcher! Robinson the best ever day player! Can’t compare the two what they meant when they were playing. Robinson every day, Sandy every 4th day! They were both franchise players of their time!

  9. Kershaw has my vote, and I’m a fan from 1947.

    But the number One Dodger of all time, even ahead of Lasorda, is Vin Scully.

  10. This is not even a close call as many say. What this man accomplished in his injury shortened career was statistically astounding. We’re talking overall player not pitcher, position, etc. It should also be noted he was a gentleman and respected team mate.

    Number 32 you are the number 1 Dodger of all time ?

  11. The greatest Dodger era was ‘59-‘66. Won 3 titles on outstanding pitching and team oriented offense. They need to model themselves after that

    1. Agreed Don. They stole bases, had a true lead off hitter. Played situational baseball, not letting a computer dictate what happens. They had a great manager at that time as well. He knew everything about the game, he knew his players, he was strict etc. Can you imagine if ANY player hit 150 back then what Alston would have done with him? Let alone 4 players all in the same line up hitting 150 or below!! Man could we use a real manager again…Koufax was incredible, unfortunately i never saw him pitch….

  12. I saw Koufax and the Duke when the team moved to LA in 1958. I was 8 years old. I remember reading the LA Time sports page when the writer announced that Drysdale and Koufax would never make in in the majors unless they improved their control. They did and became the two best pitchers on the same staff in the majors. Koufax was virtually unhittable. I remember Vinny stated that when Koufax had his stuff, the best hitters could do is foul the ball straight back if they could make contact.

    Jackie Robinson should be recognized not as the best player, but the toughest MAN in the majors. I wish I could have seen him play. The Duke’s best years were in Brooklyn. He has often injured and on the downhill side of his career in LA.

    My vote is for Mr. Koufax.

  13. Kershaw has more wins and strikeouts. Drysdale is even better. Koufax had a higher mound, larger foul territory for pop fly outs. Sandy had more no hitters.

  14. Sandy had the most baseball talent (an obviously limited category), Jackie was was the most heroic-on the field, on the street, in the world (unlimited, eternal).

  15. With an admitted bias as I was a kid and Dodger fan when Koufax was in his prime, but it’s hard to describe how dominant he was, he just lapped the field at his peak. Now Robinson was a star to be sure, and I would argue more important to baseball, reached the Majors at a relatively late age, but he wasn’t as dominant a player as Koufax. While Sandy has been a class act forever, Robinson’s contributions vastly overshadow Koufax as he helped change the country, not just make an impact on a game. Snyder? Come on. A great player, a great Dodger, but he’s no Babe Ruth.

    Hat’s off to both.

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