Sandy Koufax

By Jane Leavy,

Book cover of Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy

Book description

“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…

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Why read it?

4 authors picked Sandy Koufax as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

During the mid-1960s, Sandy Koufax was a dominant baseball pitcher and was destined to be the youngest player to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

For Jewish fans however, of my generation and beyond, he was an iconic Jewish hero most notably for his determination in 1965 to sit out a World Series game in deference to Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar. Leavy, an extraordinarily talented writer, tells this sports and Jewish story with keen insights into Koufax’s personality.

From Jeffrey's list on American Jews and sports.

This is a wonderfully readable and innovatively structured biography of one of the two greatest Jewish major leaguers in history (along with Hank Greenberg). The famously reclusive Koufax, who like Luckman grew up in Brooklyn, declined to cooperate, but Leavy alternates her second-hand chronicle of Koufax’s life with chapters recounting, inning-by-inning, the night he no-hit the Chicago Cubs in 1965. These chapters are full of fascinating tangents and “inside baseball.” Despite Koufax’s reticence, the book feels intimate, taking you inside one of the sport’s most unlikely success stories.

From R.D.'s list on Jews and sports.

This biography of the legendary pitcher, lovingly structured like a double helix entwined through his life and his 1965 perfect game, came out two weeks after my first novel. Jane and I shared the same publisher (HarperCollins) and editor, David Hirshey…and nothing else. It was a surprise bestseller to everyone but me and contains one of the great lines ever by a living icon: “Late success is quieter…” I started as a sportswriter. To call this a baseball book is to call Huckleberry Finn a fishing guide.

Jane Leavy has written three of the best baseball biographies ever published, but if I had to recommend just one, this is it (but you should definitely also seek out her books on Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle). Her ostensible subject here is the greatest left-handed pitcher of all time—“the left arm of God”—his story told in parallel with the unfolding of his perfect game against the Cubs on September 9, 1965, but she’s also writing with great insight about the 1960s, race, celebrity, labor rights, and American Judaism. The book is a marvel, all the more impressive when viewed…

From Andrew's list on baseball in historical context.

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