Last week, Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw came back on three days’ rest (gasp!) to start the team’s decisive Game 4 win over Atlanta in the NLDS. 48 years ago today, Dodgers ace Sandy Koufax pitched a complete game shutout in Game 7 of the 1965 World Series in the team’s 2-0 win over the Minnesota Twins — on just two days’ rest. Koufax faced Twins’ ace Jim Kaat, also returning to the rubber on two days’ rest for this critical Game 7.
According to this remarkable post-game interview with legendary Dodgers announcer Vin Scully uncovered by MLB Productions, the ace lefty didn’t even know he was starting the decisive Game 7 — over Don Drysdale on regular rest — until he arrived at Metropolitan Stadium in Minneapolis. According to Scully, “It’s traditional that the pitcher with the beard is gonna pitch, but you and Drysdale both came in unshaven.” Fantastic stuff.
Koufax admitted to Scully that he struggled with his curveball, so he had to rely on his fastball. No problem. The World Series MVP twirled a complete game gem, allowing three hits, three walks and striking out 10 Twins to lead the Dodgers to their fourth World Series title. It was the perfect capper to a Cy Young Award-winning season in which Koufax led the National League in wins (26), complete games (27), ERA (2.04) and innings pitched (335 ⅔). Oh, he’d also pitched a perfect game in September.
On the 48th anniversary of Koufax’s impressive achievement and the Dodgers’ 1965 World Series title, Vin Scully will be calling Game 3 of the NLCS tonight at Dodger Stadium for the Dodgers radio network (8:07 pm ET/TBS).