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Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy
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Lance (sportsbookguy) | 12630 comments Mod
Discussion of the April selection, Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy

message 2: by Michael Linn (new)

Michael Linn | 10879 comments I have been rereading it as I read it so very long ago when it 1st came out. Leavy does a good thorough job on a subject that screamed for privacy. It`s a far different read than her book on Mickey Mantle IMO
Mike Linn

Lance (sportsbookguy) | 12630 comments Mod
That's good to know. I didn't care at all for her book on Mantle. I have yet to read this one, so hoping it will be better

message 4: by Michael Linn (new)

Michael Linn | 10879 comments Well, let`s put it this way, Sandy didn`t try to put the make on her
Mike Linn

Mike (mike9) | 6338 comments I thought they were both good but the author needs to focus on the story and not herself.

Harold Kasselman | 17657 comments I read it when it came out and don't remember much. I won't re-read it but i did read the free sample on Amazon. I loved the foreword and first chapter. I laughed out loud at the part where a National public radio host asks Jane whether Sandy contributed. She said, "well he was circumscribed but invaluable". Then Sandy leaves her a phone message, "Hey Leavy, I heard what you said about being circumcised."

message 7: by Michael Linn (new)

Michael Linn | 10879 comments How about picking a backup book, maybe about a gentile player ?
Mike Linn

Harold Kasselman | 17657 comments Michael wrote: "How about picking a backup book, maybe about a gentile player ?
Mike Linn"
I don'y know. I'll wait for next month when I am back in NJ. Right now I'm reading several Michael Connely's books

message 9: by Harold (last edited Apr 01, 2018 08:42AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Harold Kasselman | 17657 comments In honor of April 1st, here is a classic. Sidd Finch is well worth your 22 minutes at some point.

message 10: by Michael Linn (new)

Michael Linn | 10879 comments Ah yes, I remember it well. Good 22 minutes indeed
Mike Linn

Lance (sportsbookguy) | 12630 comments Mod
I remember when he first graced the pages of Sports Illustrated - and I fell for the whole thing.

Lance (sportsbookguy) | 12630 comments Mod
Michael wrote: "How about picking a backup book, maybe about a gentile player ?
Mike Linn"

That's not a bad idea - want to make it an older book so people don't have to buy it - either gather it off the bookshelf or get a copy from the library.

I know - since next Sunday is the 44th anniversary of when Hank Aaron became the all time home run king, how about one on him? There are three I can think of right off the top - two of which I have read and would give a re-read:

Hank Aaron and the Home Run That Changed America

I Had a Hammer: The Hank Aaron Story

The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron

Lance (sportsbookguy) | 12630 comments Mod
And...plan on starting the Koufax book tonight after I get my latest reviews done and today's games are all done. Spending the holiday at my sister-in-law's house, but not until 5. Perfect - Mets and Twins will be done by then, and I can catch the first inning of Ohanti's pitching debut

message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

I agree with Mike in that it is often annoying when she puts herself in the story. It is one thing to try to add credibility, but she seems to be grandstanding, as if saying, "Look at me and what I did with these guys."

Overall, she does a great job of digging and researching and she is very, very well connected which helps open doors not open to other authors.

This is not really a complete biography of Sandy Koufax. She intertwines each inning of his perfect game with flash backs and diversions to tell his story. Often they are good, occasionally very good, but it gets a little confusing keeping things chronological.

As discussed above, she grants him an amazing amount of leash to remain private. Obviously she respects him very much and her continual references to him calling her and sending her notes no doubt reinforced that. I seriously doubt he would do that for any of the infinite number of journalists who have tried to get his story over the years. Like I said, she is very well connected.

But I think this will stand as the definitive Sandy Koufax biography. Previous attempts, some of which have been good, have been almost exclusively about baseball with little view of the real man behind the golden arm. I don't think Leavy found the real man either, but it's the best we've got.

There is no doubt that he has retained his aura and class, has avoided any true embarrassments and has refused to prostitute himself to memorabilia dealers. For that alone, he is easily placed in the top 1% of all great athletes.

Harold Kasselman | 17657 comments Doug wrote: "I agree with Mike in that it is often annoying when she puts herself in the story. It is one thing to try to add credibility, but she seems to be grandstanding, as if saying, "Look at me and what I..." Well said Doug. In that way he reminds me of Carlton Fisk.

message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

Harold wrote: "Doug wrote: "I agree with Mike in that it is often annoying when she puts herself in the story. It is one thing to try to add credibility, but she seems to be grandstanding, as if saying, "Look at ..."

They're both reclusive. But I would have to say that from Leavy's description, Sandy might be a good guy to talk to and maybe hang out with if he allowed you to. Fisk seems to have a brooding side and you would definitely need to watch what you say if you're sharing a brew with him--one stray comment could end up with you wearing your drink home.

Lance (sportsbookguy) | 12630 comments Mod
Wow...just started today and I didn't realize I would be getting a kinesiology lesson about the mechanics of a pitch. If the rest of the book is like this, I think I am going to really like this.

message 18: by Joy D (last edited Apr 27, 2018 08:08PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joy D | 34 comments Just finished this book today. Overall, I really enjoyed looking at baseball days of the past in addition to learning something about the man. Leavy interviews many of his teammates and contemporaries. My dad always said Sandy Koufax was the best pitcher he's ever seen. Here's a link to my review if anyone is interested:

I have to add: I was amazed to learn that toward the end of his career, his arm hurt so badly throwing the curve ball that he threw almost exclusively fast balls for 9 innings, which makes his accomplishments even more impressive! The opponents knew what was coming and they still couldn't hit it. These days it's rare for a pitcher to have only 2 pitches in his repertoire.

message 19: by Lance (last edited Apr 28, 2018 05:07PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lance (sportsbookguy) | 12630 comments Mod
After putting it down for awhile, picked it back up yesterday and wow, did I enjoy it. I'll post my link below this, but there were a few thoughts I wanted to share about it here.

1. I thought the book, whether it was Leavy or someone she interviewed, was quite critical of Walter Alston's handling of Koufax. Whether it was improper use of him early in his career (more on that in #2) or whether it was overuse later, it seemed like Alston never got it right - and of course Koufax let it be known that he and Alston weren't exactly buddie. I thought it was telling when the book stated that it didn't matter who was available, how many days rest he had or any other circumstance, Koufax was pitching as long as possible.

#2. The languishing on the bench and only infrequent appearances as a "bonus baby" was not well recieved either. Koufax is one of those "what ifs" - what if he was playing regularly for his entire career? When I read a book on Harmon Killebrew a few years ago, I had the same thought as the Senators also let him waste away on the bench when he was a "bonus baby." He probably would have easily surpassed 600 homers.

#3. There were many reviewers who were critical about the structure of including the perfect game of 9/9/65. I loved that part of the book. I knew the basics such as Hendley being a tough-luck loser because he pitched nearly as well as Koufax, but reading about the Cubs batters like Harvey Kuehn was a nice touch. I learned a lot about that game.

#4. My mom will never want to read this account of game 7 of the 1965 World Series (aside: why isn't world series capitalized in this book?) Probably would banish me from her house forever if I gave her this book. I did load a few Kindle baseball books on the one I gave her last year on Mother's Day. Rest assured this wasn't one!

My review:

Patricia Kerster | 19 comments I don't have too much great insight, but I remembered about this book club when I was just going over what I read in April! I was hesitant about this book, since I remember the controversy over the Mantle book - which I didn't read.
This managed to get into his life, without looking for dirt. If someone doesn't want their personal life to be public knowledge, it's none of our business.
But I did get a lot out of it . . . about his arm troubles, etc. I grew up always hearing about his "legend" (retired young with arthritis!) without hearing any of the backstory.
I am glad I read this and glad it was the book of the month!

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