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Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating details ·  4,784 Ratings  ·  182 Reviews
“The incomparable and mysterious Sandy Koufax is revealed…. This is an absorbing book, beautifully written.” —Wall Street Journal

“Leavy has hit it out of the park…A lot more than a biography. It’s a consideration of how we create our heroes, and how this hero’s self perception distinguishes him from nearly every other great athlete in living memory… a remarkably rich portr
Paperback, 352 pages
Published March 16th 2010 by Harper Perennial (first published September 17th 2002)
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Jan 17, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ray by: Rev. Pat Roach
This one surprised me. Harper Coliins' cheap packaging and the uninspired title (A Lefty's Legacy?) screamed formulatic hagiography. You know the genre: lots of stats, cheesy writing, exclamation points...

Instead this is as subtle, probing, smartly written as any biography could be. Jane Leavy is a skillful researcher with a relentless drive to get at her subject from every angle. And she knows how to tell her story. She is a masterful writer, able to draw us in to her quest. We are led to disc
May 25, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was very let down by this book. Sandy Koufax was a great pitcher, an inspirational human being, and is a hero to many people (including myself). But this book is just a big heaping mess of hero-worship (hagiography). It was a one-dimensional look at a man who is very complex and enigmatic.

I thought the structure of the book was interesting, alternating the innings of Koufax's perfect game with more biographical chapters. But that’s about it. I know there's some other Sandy Koufax literature o
Heather Jacks
Feb 11, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A Lefty’s Legacy
Anyone who spends more than ten minutes with me knows that I am a huge baseball fan. I love the game; the history, the stories, the smell of fresh cut grass, that moment of mystical silence when the catcher has given the signal and the pitcher has accepted it, followed by that magical moment when the field of potentiality is wide open and anything can happen. The pitcher winds up, muscles rippling in weird physiologic perfection that is almost alien. That being said; I read a lot
Carol Storm
May 14, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Gave up after twenty pages -- listening to everyone who grew up on Koufax's block talk about how wonderful the "old neighborhood" was made me want to throw up. It was like a circle-jerk.
Andy Miller
This would have been a lot better book if the author, Jane Leavy, had more focus on Sandy Koufax instead of her repeated asides, tangents and pages about Koufax fans that were scattered throughout the book.

Koufax's story is compelling and the author does include some good perspectives, my favorite is dispelling the commonly held notion(including myself) that Koufax was a wild, unpredictable pitcher early in his career who could could not be counted on. Leavy showed that instead Koufax's often un
Chris Gager
Starting tonight after work - perhaps. Something light after "Canada".

And done in a couple of days. It'a an enjoyable "puffy" kind of look at a short-term great pitcher. No mysteries about Koufax are cleared up, such as whether or not he's a closeted gay man(not that there's anything wrong with that). She never mentions it. I was never a big fan because he was in the National League and because of my Red Sox I was American League all the way. Still, I have to admit that by reading this I'm more
Dec 16, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
In an effort to catch up with the multitudes of fascinating gaps in my reading, every year as Spring Training begins, I start a baseball book. This one by Jane Leavy, on one of my all-time favorite figures in baseball, has been sitting on my shelves for 5 years now and I took to it. What happened? The most frustrating of reading experiences.

I only give this book a reasonable rating based on the subject matter itself. In the venerable world of sports writing there are definitely the good and the
Steven Peterson
Dec 12, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jane Leavy has written a fine work on Mickey Mantle recently. She authored this work in 2002. It is a fascinating examination of one of the best pitchers that I have ever watched (on TV only, I'm sorry to say).

The book begins with Koufax working with the Dodgers in 1997. The book goes back and forth in time--and it doesn't seem distracting to me. The perfect game that Koufax authored against the Cubs cuts in and out as Leavy relates the early years and developing career of Koufax. We get a bette
Dec 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great book about a great pitcher and a good guy. Koufax was so much better than anyone else in the league there's only ever been one pitcher that has approximated his success over a shot time period. Well written in a clever format. If you like baseball, and like the Koufax era, you'll enjoy this book.
Conor Mullaney
Apr 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a very interesting book that tells the story of the great Sandy Koufax from the beginning. It tells a story that you wouldn't expect would come from such a dominant pitcher in baseball's history. The main subject is about the fantastic pitching ability of Sandy and how he was able to perfect his craft in a way that was ahead of the science of the sport of baseball. Most observations have been about the key points in Sandy's mechanics and how they all work together to create an end resul ...more
Patrick Waters
As much as I enjoy reading, I was shocked that I had never seen this app until very recently. I began to write a review on the book I am finishing as we speak, but thought I would prefer to cut my teeth on a book that I loved (Levy's "A Lefty's Legacy") as opposed to one I just enjoyed.

As a huge baseball fan, I yearn to have seen the game played at it's peak of popularity, a time when the United States' sports appetite was not as divided as it is now. Levy vividly recreates the brief career of
Ben Wilson
Mar 23, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: pitchers, Jews, baseball fans of any age
Shelves: baseball
4 stars for this excellent biography of a man - not merely a ballplayer. There is little pretense here and little classic narrative structure - leading to more a study of a man's impact on those around him than to any meteoric rise or tragic fall that he might have encountered. Not the typical baseball book by any means, but according to Leavy, Koufax wasn't the typical ballplayer.

In the end, I figure it is very Koufaxian - it made me respect the man much more than it made me stand in awe of him
Nov 30, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In-depth, lively, and intelligent memoir of the almost immortal southpaw pitcher, Sandy Koufax, who retired from the game at the peak of his powers. But his left arm was also pretty much shot. Many familiar names--Frank Howard and Ken McMullen to name two--from the baseball world crop up for me. Interestingly, the private Koufax didn't supply the biographer with any new material. Enjoyable read for all baseball fans that gives you a new appreciation for Sandy Koufax's unique athletic talents.
Jun 04, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good read because the subject matter is pretty rich. Would have been a lot better if Koufax had sat for interviews or if Leavy had spoken to his ex-wives...
Sep 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: baseball, u-s-history
This book was written in 2002, but it does an excellent job of putting baseball in the 60s in its time and place in focusing on one of the greatest pitchers who ever lived. Although I was a baseball fan in the 60s, I would never be mistaken for a Dodgers fan, and thus have never really paid attention to the details of Koufax' life or career.

There are many things remarkable about Koufax. As a youth growing up in New York (Brooklyn and Long Island), he was more interested in basketball than baseb
Dan Durning
Jul 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A friend insisted that I read Jane Leavy's biography of Sandy Koufax. I agreed to, vaguely hoping, because I have my own long list of books waiting to be read, that he would forget about it. He didn't and even bought a copy and mailed it to me. So, had no choice.

I remembered Koufax as part of the Drysdale/Koufax tandem that led the Los Angeles Dodgers to a couple of world series in the first part of the 1960s. Of course, I never gave a flip about the Dodgers and had no warm feelings for either
I was really looking forward to reading this book. I'm a huge baseball fan and have always been awed by the numbers Sandy Koufax put up in a time when pitchers were expected to play the whole game! Though his career was short, and truly impressive part only six years, it is arguably the best six seasons of any pitcher in the history of baseball. However, since Sandy did not participate in the book it was hard to get a sense of who he really was.

The framework of the book was interesting - his bi
Aug 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is probably the best book about sports that I have read to date. I loved the format --- it alternated between chapters focusing on each inning of his 1965 perfect game and chapters focusing on Koufax's impact on others. Since Koufax is not comfortable in the spotlight, he contributed little to the book. Remarkably, this is one of the book's strengths; the author was forced to talk to teammates and contemporaries, and their impressions were often very touching.

At its core, this is a story o
Dave Moyer
Dec 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Images of a different time and place, a class act, and a fierce competitor--well written. Remember just how good he was was a joy. Enjoying the voice of Vin Scully interspersed with the story of his no-hitter was a treat, especially in light of his recent retirement.
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jane Leavey's portrait of Koufax is all about an era gone by as much as it is a biography of an American sports' legend. Although the book sometimes meanders and loses focus, it is a fun read and made for a great discussion with my men's book group.
Title: Sandy Koufax: A Lefty’s Legacy
Author: Jane Leavy
Genre: Biography for Grades 3-5
Theme(s): Baseball
Opening line/sentence: “Three decades after he threw his last pitch, Sandy Koufax was back in uniform at Dodgertown, a rare occurrence given his belief that baseball uniforms do not flatter those of a certain age.”
Brief Book Summary: This book goes through the life of Lefty Pitcher Sandy Koufax and his time in the Major Leagues.
Professional Recommendation/Review #1: Miles Klein (KLIATT Review,
May 17, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: John Gutierrez, if he could pay attention that long.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 25, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: baseball fans, dodger fans, nostalgia fans
as a lifelong dodger fan, i'm always interested in reading about dodgers past and dodgers present. i wasn't around to witness sandy koufax and don drysdale pitch in person [though i'd give just about anything to experience it!], so what i do know about the brooklyn/los angeles dodgers prior to 1978-ish is limited to what i've read in books and magazines and the occassional black and white news footage.

when the dodgers moved west and broke a million brooklyn hearts, sandy koufax was on the verge
Jun 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: baseball fans, sports fans, cultural studies
I finished this book a few weeks ago but was putting off writing it up because I didn’t want it to end – which a review does—puts a period on the book and then you move on to the next one. This is a story about a man, a baseball player, a pitcher, Sandy Koufax, who pitched in the major leagues for the Brooklyn/LA Dodgers for just twelve years, 1955-1966. He was the most dominant pitcher the game has ever seen for four years, 1963-66. On September 9, 1965 he pitched a perfect game, which he won 1 ...more
Blake Young
Nov 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Lefty’s Legacy is a book written by Jane Leavy about Sandy Koufax. Sandy Koufax was a Major League Baseball left-handed pitcher from 1955 to 1966, all for the Brooklyn Dodgers (the team moved to Los Angeles during his career). Koufax won many awards throughout his career including: seven time all-star, four time world series champ, three time cy young award winner, and one time National League MVP. His most valuable award is being elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972. The th ...more
Sandy Koufax was one of the best pitchers to ever play the game of baseball. Thebiography “Sandy Koufax - A lefty’s legacy” by Jane Leavy is one of the better books I haveread. I play baseball and also pitch so I can relate a lot to this book. This book isexplaining Sandy’s journey through baseball and the Major leagues. When you read thisbook you get hooked into it very fast if you like baseball. The Author’s descriptive writingstyle of Sandy and everything he did to prepare for his journey ma ...more
Matt Ely
Nov 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: baseball, biography
Why this man? Leavy asks this question, in many variations, throughout the book. Why, of all people, did this man transcend his humanity at so young an age? Why does his myth endure, as if he evaporated at age 30? What made the public perceive Koufax as more than human?

This was a real education for me. I love baseball, but I'll admit that I don't dive deep into its lore. Most of what I read are minutiae regarding the current Chicago Cubs roster. But even I knew that Koufax stood out from history
David Fox
The Greatest

My Dad started taking me to Dodger games when I was about seven. The Dodgers had not yet moved to Chavez Ravine & I thrilled to the Dodgers those first few seasons at the Coliseum, home of the LA Rams & USC Trojans. The Coliseum was not designed for baseball. Dimensions were all wrong.You could lift a home run over the left field fence a mere 241 feet away. To compensate for the short distance the Dodgers installed an unusually high fence that inspired the catcall: "Hit it to
Reid Mccormick
Oct 31, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whether you are a Dodger fan or not, Sandy Koufax is an indisputable baseball legend. There are mythical tales that merely describe his wind up.

Before the days of universal baseball coverage and ballplayers watching endless hours of tape, the myth of a pitcher's curve or batter's swing frightening. Everyone in the ballpark would stop to watch, not knowing if they would ever see something so magical again.

We may never have players like Koufax ever again thanks to visual media. Today we can replay
Mar 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think the key to the book is in the subtitle. Koufax's legacy is the idea of trying to reach perfection. The structure of the book, breaking up the nine innings of his perfect game into essentially alternating chapters, highlights this theme nicely.

There's a lot about Koufax here, from his relationship with his birth father and his adoptive father, to his life more recently as a living icon. It's hard to ignore the lack of information about his "personal life," especially considering the rumor
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Jane Leavy is the author of the New York Times bestseller Sandy Koufax: A Leftys Legacy and the comic novel Squeeze Play, which Entertainment Weekly called the best novel ever written about baseball. She was a staff writer at The Washington Post from 1979 to1988, first in the sports section, then writing for the style section. She covered baseball, tennis, and the Olympics for the paper. She wrote ...more
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