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Koufax Hardcover – April 1, 2000

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Taylor Trade Publishing; First Edition, First Printing edition (April 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0878331573
  • ISBN-13: 978-0878331574
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #540,367 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This is the biography of legendary L.A. Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax, who for half a decade mesmerized hitters as few have ever done. Described by many as the greatest left-handed pitcher of all time, Koufax dominated batters in the National League, establishing a benchmark that most hurlers only dream about. Consider these stats: from 1962 to 1966, he won 111 games, lost only 34, tossed a no hitter, and also pitched a perfect game. His 1963 season was brilliantDan impressive 25-5 record with a 1.88 ERA, a world series championship, and an MVP award. It's too bad arthritis ended Koufax's playing days prematurely, at age 30. Award-winning sports writer Gruver (The Ice Bowl) has compiled what the publisher touts as the first book on Koufax in 30 years. Drawing on childhood friends, teammates, opponents, journalists, and Dodger management, Gruver has written a compelling story, complete with appendix of notable statistics. Recommended for all libraries. (Index not seen.)DLarry R. Little, Penticton P.L., BC
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax may have had the best consecutive years of any pitcher ever from 1961 through 1966, winning 149 games while losing just 47 with a miniscule earned run average and more than one strikeout per inning. He retired at age 30 because of severe arthritis in his pitching arm. The reverential mystique enveloping Koufax to this day is based in equal parts on his magnificence; his retirement, caused by a tragic condition; and his subsequent Garboesque public persona. Gruver, the award-winning author of The Ice Bowl (1997), relies on mostly secondary sources to re-create Koufax's career and postretirement life. Older fans familiar with Koufax will learn little that wasn't common knowledge but can vicariously relive some of those great performances. Young fans can learn how a star could be humble, self-effacing, and gracious while still being as fierce and courageous a performer as the game has known. Wes Lukowsky
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

He was the greatest clutch pitcher of all time.
Flying Scot
Lacking any real depth or anything new to say about Sandy Koufax, I guess the author decided to pad the book with repeated phrases.
Mark Daniels
I, like most fans, was well aware of his physical woes, but could never really forgive him for his "early" retirement in "66.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Woody on September 9, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Being a teenager, a Jewish kid who was a toal baseball freak, and rabid Dodger fan during Sandy's heyday, made him my number one sports idol of all-time. I read this book with relish as I still get shivers, and feel pride, joy, and sadness everytime I see his name in print or hear his name spoken. I feel extremely fortunate to have seen him pitch in his heyday, and would thank him profusely for giving me a Jewish role model in athletics.
Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed the book and learned things about my hero that I never knew. I, like most fans, was well aware of his physical woes, but could never really forgive him for his "early" retirement in "66. It was one of the saddest days in my life. So sad, that I completely lost interest in baseball until 1974 when the Dodgers started winning again.
Having read the book, I can now understand his decision, and agree that he did the right thing.
I liked the format of the book; using the setting of game 7 of the '65 series as the background for telling the story. It was exciting to relive the inning-by-inning account of the game, and descriptions of the other high and low points of Koufax's career. My main criticism was the constant repetition of the same facts over and over again. It appeared to me as though the author had to reach a certain word limit (like I did when I was assigned an essay in school), and needed to have a high enough word count to please his editor. He kept repeating the descriptions of Sandy on the mound in his sweat and Caposen soaked uniform, brushing away the sweat, shrugging the stiffness out of his massively muscled shoulders between each pitch.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Haschka TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 11, 2000
Format: Hardcover
On a balmy, summer's evening in Southern California during the mid-60's, I tune my transistor radio to KFI, and loop the handstrap around my bicycle's handlebar. Peddling aimlessly through the darkening twilight, my thoughts are solely on the vision conjured up by the Voice of the Dodgers, Vin Scully. I remember as if it was only yesterday...
"On the mound tonight for the Los Angeles Dodgers ... number 32 ... the great left-hander... Sandy Koufax".
"Koufax", by Edward Gruver, brings it all back. It's more than just a straightforward biography. The backbone of the book is a narrative of Sandy's gutsy, phenomenal performance in the seventh game of the 1965 World Series with the Minnesota Twins, relived batter by batter and pitch by pitch, at roughly one inning per chapter. The author fleshes out each inning's action with the story of Koufax's life: parents, childhood, education, religion, early baseball career, peak baseball career, teammates, adversaries, pitching style, injuries, retirement, and post retirement. And enough pitching stats to satisfy even the most hardball of fans. My only criticism might be that the author's evident hero worship of his subject is almost slavish. However, who am I to criticize considering the knuckle-biting attention I paid to Sandy's every outing, every pitch and every decision? This is a must-have book about a truly great gentleman and ballplayer.
Thirty-four years after my hero's final walk to the mound, I'm no longer a baseball fan, much less a follower of the Dodgers. Nowadays, star baseball (and football, and basketball) players seem to get more media attention when they abuse drugs, commit felony assault or rape, or are just downright obnoxious.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By mateo52 VINE VOICE on July 27, 2001
Format: Hardcover
While thinking about what to say in this review I was reminded of some commentary written about Miles Davis where a jazz critic I have long since forgotten observed, "Miles plays for himself. The listener's appreciation is merely an irrelevant by-product." Under no circumstances do I consider myself to be the literary equivalent of the musician (and artist) that was Miles Davis however the spirit of the quote is a fair assessment of the following review.
If Ed Gruver had written a biography of commensurate quality about any other baseball player, at most I would have rated it four stars. Imposition of the name Koufax, establishes an entirely unique dynamic for me. Throughout my childhood, every member of my family and basically every adult I knew well were Dodger fans, nevermind the fact the team was initially 600, and eventually 3000 miles removed from where I lived. I must have been enveloped by a steel industry induced rust belt fog for my pre-teen, adolescent and young adult years because up to the point of Jackie Robinson's death the basis for our unwavering support never occurred to me. No one ever said a thing, it was just the way it was. My family would gather around and listen to Bob Prince's call of Pirates' games just so we could find out how the Dodgers were doing. If the Dodger's were on NBC's game of the week, it became an event comparable to today's Superbowl parties.
As a lefthanded kid who fancied himself a future major league pitcher and a Dodger fan to boot, Sandy Koufax was the embodiment of perfection.
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